Active Shooter Drills Come With Their Own Risks

Schools across the country are holding active shooter drills to help students and teachers prepare for the worst. But at what cost? As NPR’s Lulu Garcia-Navarro reports, experts are increasingly concerned that the exercises are taking a psychological toll on our youth.

Nearly every public school held an active shooter drill in 2015-2016. The nature of the drills are also becoming more realistic — sometimes too realistic. Remember the time teachers in Indiana were shot with actual pellet guns? Or the janitor who was told to dress up as a masked gunman, unbeknownst to staff, in Fresno County? 

Even when shooter drills are well planned for, they heighten students’ fear and anxiety.

“What we can do is we can prepare our students and our staff members through lockdown procedures. And that is where you get behind a locked door, if possible, out of the line of sight,” Garcia-Navarro writes. “But we can do that in a way for which, first of all, we talk them through what it means to go into a lockdown and where should we be positioned in that room. And then we can practice that in a very calm manner.”


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