Students Participating in Fake 'School Shootings' May End Up More Anxious Than Prepared

school hallwayHow's this for unsettling? I hit the website of my local paper to see pictures of a school up the road from me filled with cops brandishing big guns. The good news? It was all a drill. The bad news? High school shootings have now become so commonplace that teachers and students are now practicing for them!

The photos from the local school are an example of a national trend. Mock shooting drills are now lined up on the school calendar right along with the fire drills of our youth. This is our reality.


Schools here in New York. Schools in Florida. Schools in Michigan. They've all let men with guns into the building so teachers, and in some schools, the teenagers too can practice -- in a safe manner -- what to do if a child turns into a killer. They're hoping to save lives by being proactive.

I trust the members of law enforcement who led the shooting scenario in my area. I understand their reasoning for trying it out. I want my kid to be properly prepped for an emergency. I went through fire drills and mock DWI accident drills and God knows what else drills back in my day, and I admit they helped. When I hear a fire alarm, I know what to do.

But that doesn't mean I like it.

Yes; a shooting may happen. But actually, thankfully, the statistics say it probably won't. Just this February, in the wake of the horrific shooting in Chardon, Ohio, Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics released a study showing school-related violent deaths are at an all-time low since it began tracking such deaths in 1992. And these are the statistics we need to focus on.

We send our kids off to school each day thinking that they are going to a safe place. We aren't naive. We're aware there are shootings. But we have to focus on the positive in order to get through the day, in order to entrust teachers with our most precious "belongings" so to speak. The reasoning is two-pronged. It's to make us feel better, but it's also to comfort our kids. This is a place where they spend much of their lives; they need to feel safe there.

A school shooting drill takes the careful fantasy we have built and rips it in two. And for what? For the possibility that there may be a shooting at our kids' school?

I understand why law enforcement is suggesting these drills. But if they are the new normal, I'm afraid of what we're accepting as "normal."

What would you do if your child's school was planning one of these drills?


Image via Conspirator/Flickr

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