The likelihood of a public school student being killed by a gun in school is less than 1 in 614 million. Yet, 4.1 million students – 220,000 of which included children as young as 3 in preschool or kindergarten – participated in at least one lockdown in the 2017-2018 academic year. That’s more than the entire population of Maine, Rhode Island, Delaware, and Vermont combined.
This number of active shooter drills could be justified if studies showed that these drills have been psychologically beneficial in helping students, teachers, and parents feel safe and prepared for emergencies. Unfortunately, we are seeing they have the reverse effect. The active shooter drills themselves are causing a severe amount of trauma and anxiety to thousands of children.
Some school districts are even going beyond a typical “drill,” firing blanks at students and using fake blood to intensify the effect. Other schools create mass hysteria and anxiety by conducting lockdown drills and informing the teachers involved that, “This is not a drill.” As a result, thousands of students are growing up sending goodbye texts to their parents or hearing the sound of gunshots in their school.
This needs to stop. I’m a parent and I know we all want our children to feel and be safe in the classroom. But, there is no evidence that these active shooter drills proportionally help prepare students for an actual shooter.
We are terrorizing our children unnecessarily. The $3 billion being spent per year on school security and drills could be going towards hiring counselors, nurses, and teachers. And if preparation is necessary by administrators, then why include the kids? Today they are more burdened than ever, with 32% of teenagers having anxiety disorders and 22% suffering from mental disorders.
We need to consider new solutions and preventative measures, like teaching teachers, staff, and students to recognize and provide assistance to struggling and troubled classmates. We also need to strengthen our Gun Safety laws. We need to give our kids a chance to feel safe in school and teach them the right lessons.
Join the fight
Problems to be Solved
- We are causing trauma to our children without making them significantly safer.
My child’s school just announced its first shooter drill of the year, 1 of 4 required by the district per year. If one weighs the benefits of having millions of American children engage in active shooter drills vs. the anxiety, confusion, questioning, and lack of control being instilled in generations of American children, I would advocate not having the drills or at a minimum making them optional as determined by each community.
- Stop traumatizing children
- Teach the right lessons
As President, I will...
- Work with the Department of Education and Public Schools system to examine our increased use of active shooter drills.
- Allow school districts and parents to determine whether drills are appropriate.
- Invest more resources into the public school system to foster a more positive environment while investing in mental health and counseling services.