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(22,336 posts)
Sat Jun 2, 2018, 09:01 AM Jun 2018

What Are Active-Shooter Drills Doing to Kids?


There’s always at least one kid in tears, as they huddle under their desks in the dark. Still Beth Manias, an early-elementary literacy teacher outside of Seattle, tries to act upbeat and relaxed.

“I have them whisper about their favorite candy, dinner, books, movies—whatever, as a distraction,” Manias told me. She tells the kids they’re practicing to stay safe in case there’s ever a bear on campus. Though, she admits, “They always see through this. The older they get, the more savvy they become, probably because they are exposed to more of the news.”

At schools across the country, more children are taking part in mandatory “active-shooter drills.” Forgoing any pretense of a bear, sometimes a faculty member plays the role of a shooter, jiggling doorknobs as children practice keeping perfectly silent. Many parents, teachers, and students say that the experience is somewhere between upsetting and traumatizing.

Which may be worthwhile, if it were clear that the drills saved lives.
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What Are Active-Shooter Drills Doing to Kids? (Original Post) gollygee Jun 2018 OP
My experience. no_hypocrisy Jun 2018 #1
I used to substitute gollygee Jun 2018 #8
Double edged sword Rorey Jun 2018 #2
we had atom bomb drills in school.....crawl under desk hands, over head......yeah right... samnsara Jun 2018 #3
I was going to mention this... Hugin Jun 2018 #4
They should have added a flexibility exercise. Blue_true Jun 2018 #5
That's true, although gollygee Jun 2018 #6
I was a bit shaken to learn that treestar Jun 2018 #11
I remember those well Betty88 Jun 2018 #13
My elementary aged daughter had a drill last week gollygee Jun 2018 #7
Twisted logic TimeSnowDemos Jun 2018 #9
Since it is known to be a drill, deal with why the child is that affected treestar Jun 2018 #10
They kids don't necessarily know during the drill that it's a drill gollygee Jun 2018 #14
Being a student. Snackshack Jun 2018 #12
That was dumb treestar Jun 2018 #16
With Over 100,000 Americans Being Shot Every Year, We are Creating a Traumatized Nation dlk Jun 2018 #15


(46,664 posts)
1. My experience.
Sat Jun 2, 2018, 09:11 AM
Jun 2018

I'm a substitute. I've been with all levels during these drills. And I'm disenchanted.

Most notable was a third grade I had where the kids didn't listen to directions. They stayed in their seats and kept talking loudly to each other, including laughter. I couldn't physically move them. Obviously I couldn't call the Office/the Principal and report a problem at that moment. It took me about five minutes to get them into a safe spot and to get them quiet. If there were a real shooter in the building, we might be dead. (Locking the door IMO is useless as door mechanisms can be disabled with a weapon.)

On a non-drill matter, last week I was working an eighth grade class. A boy who wasn't part of the class walked in. I addressed him courteously, verified that he wasn't part of the class I was teaching. I politely asked him to leave. He refused. I asked him for his name. He wouldn't give it to me. Ordinarily I would ignore him and return to the tasks left for my class. But these are different times. He could have come to the class to settle a score from lunch (which was about an hours earlier). I can't assume things anymore. I called the Office, reported the incident and let them take care of it. I didn't magnify the situation but again, you can't assume stuff anymore about a benign visit by a kid to wave at his friends and leave.


(22,336 posts)
8. I used to substitute
Sat Jun 2, 2018, 10:12 AM
Jun 2018

but life circumstances make me less available this year. I only saw a high school drill, and then only a "lock-up" and not a "lock-down." The lock-up drills are not that scary.


(8,455 posts)
2. Double edged sword
Sat Jun 2, 2018, 09:15 AM
Jun 2018

Another thing I've thought about is that the shooter is very often a student/former student. They're being trained in the routine. Hiding under a desk in a dark classroom won't do much good if the shooter is familiar with the routine in the school (which rooms hold which classes, etc.) and how the students hide.

Meanwhile, are we raising a generation of people who are going to always be afraid? People who are desperate and afraid can be very dangerous.

I can't say that I think that these drills are necessarily bad, but maybe there's a right way and a wrong way to do it.


(17,737 posts)
3. we had atom bomb drills in school.....crawl under desk hands, over head......yeah right...
Sat Jun 2, 2018, 09:24 AM
Jun 2018

...the only time i was scarred by it was when i realized that drill wasnt gonna do any good.


(33,410 posts)
4. I was going to mention this...
Sat Jun 2, 2018, 09:33 AM
Jun 2018

Duck & cover kind of left it's mark on me.

At one time I actually considered whether it wouldn't be better to paint a big red X on my ass and go lay down at a known target rather than suffer a lingering death from radiation sickness.

I was less than 10 years old at that point.

People say I'm a cynic now... I wonder what a Psychiatrist would make of it.


(31,261 posts)
5. They should have added a flexibility exercise.
Sat Jun 2, 2018, 09:38 AM
Jun 2018

So that people could kiss their butts goodbye if something happened. There is nothing like prevention done early to make a crisis less likely to happen, but nationalists and gunners don't want deplomacy and/or restrictions on ownership of some type of guns.


(22,336 posts)
6. That's true, although
Sat Jun 2, 2018, 10:00 AM
Jun 2018

I wonder whether the fact that every kid knows other kids have actually been shot at schools, and it isn't just an occasional thing anymore, makes it scarier for them. A nuclear bomb is huge and scary but it's never happened in the US before. Kids aren't hearing about it happening over and over again at schools that could have been their schools.

I don't know. I'm too young for those drills and too old to have been afraid of school shooters. We just had tornado drills.


(82,383 posts)
11. I was a bit shaken to learn that
Sat Jun 2, 2018, 11:17 AM
Jun 2018

we had the power to blow up the planet 10 times and the Soviets had the power to blow up the planet 5 times. Of course, we "won." LOL.


(717 posts)
13. I remember those well
Sat Jun 2, 2018, 11:24 AM
Jun 2018

I don't remember being scared by it, maybe I was to young. Now looking back I realize how silly they were. I'm not sure what the answer is, emergency drills do need to happen for lots of things, storms, fire, rain of toads what have you.


(22,336 posts)
7. My elementary aged daughter had a drill last week
Sat Jun 2, 2018, 10:08 AM
Jun 2018

where her class learned how to create a barricade to block someone from opening the door, and then learned what is the best way to throw books at a shooter.

My teenager is in more danger. Our local school could be next. I think about this too often.



(476 posts)
9. Twisted logic
Sat Jun 2, 2018, 11:12 AM
Jun 2018

Instead of stopping shootings the country has decided to try and limit numbers of dead children.

Absurd on its face, but accepted as normal.


(82,383 posts)
10. Since it is known to be a drill, deal with why the child is that affected
Sat Jun 2, 2018, 11:16 AM
Jun 2018

We had fire drills and civil defense drills.

The possibility of a fire does seem to me less scary than the thought of a human with a gun with no conscience.

Though it had happened, it was not so common, so a shooter in our school was just not a thought that was prepared for.

All in all, it's another argument for gun control.


(22,336 posts)
14. They kids don't necessarily know during the drill that it's a drill
Sat Jun 2, 2018, 11:29 AM
Jun 2018

It's like a fire drill. You hear the fire alarm, you head out and don't know at the time if someone saw a fire somewhere or if it's a drill.


(2,541 posts)
12. Being a student.
Sat Jun 2, 2018, 11:18 AM
Jun 2018

Who experienced the pleasure of “duck and cover drills”. When I grew up and realized just how futile that drill was, that someone, somewhere thought the idea that getting under a desk (kindling) was going to protect me from a nuclear blast was the epitome of silly. It made me realize that the figures I had always viewed as authorities were not necessarily worthy of that status and should be questioned.

These “active shooter” drills may be helpful for now but unless more is done (actual legislation to reduce this) it will have the same affect as the cover drills had on me. If no more is done and these kids grow up and realize this was the best the adults could offer on this (hide and be quite) they would be right to look back at the adults in the room and think us stupid.

They are already going to be able to view us in that light on Climate Change as it becomes worse and worse I guess it does not matter if they have one more reason too.


(82,383 posts)
16. That was dumb
Sat Jun 2, 2018, 12:40 PM
Jun 2018

If they seriously feared that, they needed to build bomb shelters under every school.

I had heard they were also for tornadoes or big storms. Might have been of limited use for that.


(11,697 posts)
15. With Over 100,000 Americans Being Shot Every Year, We are Creating a Traumatized Nation
Sat Jun 2, 2018, 11:30 AM
Jun 2018

Actions have consequences and active shooter drills can't help but have a long-term, negative impact on our children. It makes them have to think about the very real possibility of being slaughtered in their classrooms. Why would we do this to our children?

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