Firing Off Blanks in School Safety Drill Sends the Wrong Message to Our Kids

gunIf you have a kid at Cary-Grove High School in the Chicago suburbs, he or she is going to hear gun shots today. Don't worry, though, it’s all part of the plan ... for someone to shoot a starter pistol in the hallway during the school’s “Code Red” drill. Because it’s not frightening and disturbing enough that our kids have to undergo safety drills that have nothing to do with natural disasters -- now, apparently, they need sound effects!

In a letter to parents, the school principal explained that this crazy plan is to “provide our teachers and students some familiarity with the sound of gunfire.” The police chief elaborates, “The purpose is to take the Code Red drill one step further” because “many” students have “never heard a gunshot before.” And they shouldn't have to -- especially at school!

During the drill, teachers will lock their doors, close their curtains, and keep the kids in their rooms while police “sweep” the building and someone fires the gun. How insanely scary is that? Is this really the kind of military state we want to accept that we live in? I’m sick enough at the thought that my daughter’s elementary school has “lockdown” drills; I hate them, but I accept them. Adding gunfire to the mix totally crosses the line between helping the staff and the children be prepared to face a crisis and just plain scaring and traumatizing them.

Plus, firing off a gun in a school -- even if you’re shooting blanks -- does more damage than just freaking everyone out. It both normalizes AND sensationalizes the idea of a deadly weapon being discharged in a place that’s supposed to be safe. Some kids are going to find it scary, others will find it exciting, but they will all get the message that their school is not secure.

I’d keep my kid home on a day with something like this planned. What do you think? Am I overreacting to a pragmatic move?

Is shooting a gun in a school a huge step in the wrong direction?


Image via theknowlesgallery/Flickr

crime, guns, education, school, safety


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PonyC... PonyChaser

When your school conducts a fire drill, do they pull the alarm? When they have a tornado drill, do they sound the alarm? Does that sound traumatize the children?

Like it or not (and I don't like it one bit), school shootings have become an issue that must be addressed. Kids and adults alike must be able to identify that particular sound immediately and react immediately and without hesitation. Thanks to people refusing to provide any kind of real protection for them, this is the ONLY chance they have. I would rather my son be a little freaked out in a controlled situation than sit in his classroom wondering what that popping noise is and finding out when some deranged lunatic comes crashing thru the door because nobody knew what to listen for.

Kids are smart and strong. They only get traumatized by something like this because the adults around them send the signal that everything is not ok. If an adult leading this drill says, "ok, you're going to hear this noise. It might be a little scary, but you are completely safe. We're doing this for the same reason we hold fire drills - so that in the EXTREMELY unlikely event that something happens, you will know what to do and how to protect yourself," the kids are going to understand and react appropriately.

Doomy234 Doomy234

I thought the point of safety and emergency drills was to make them as close to real as possible? Thats why when there are tornado drills, schools blare the alarms and guide their students to the safe area. Some of those students get scared, some get excited. Whats the difference?

Seems to me that you just want to pretend that it couldnt happen. Better to be fully prepared than to be confused in the possibility of an emergency, panic, and get hurt.

Irela... Ireland69

TImes have changed.  Better to be prepared and stop making about oh my baby is going to get scared. Complaining about drills is just ridiculous.  We just had a drill here in Houston and people where freaking out and complaining once they found out it was a drill.  If they tell us it's a drill people would just go along with what they are doing.  We need to be prepared for anything as much as we can.

nurse... nursemama88

I think it is a good idea considering the world we live in now. Don't teach kids to fear guns teach them how they need to react in this situation. Ponychaser hit the nail on the head.

Scott Davis

I was working in a business that used menally challanged people as employees. I was up on a lift and I accidently set off the smoke detector. This detector is tied into the building alarm system. When the alarm went off the employees freaked out and started screaming, but they all went directly to the fire exits. If they hadn't of had heard the noise before, I really think it would have ended badly. 

Jennifer Perry Lynch

Ponychaser...I couldn't have said it better myself. Lets not continue to stick our heads in the sand and hope it won't happen to us or happen in our community. Let's be prepared just in case and not continue to be sitting ducks!

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