Mistakes with shooter drills
BY KYLER BUENDIA
SNN Staff Writer
In 2019, there were 434 mass shootings in the United States. In these shootings, 1,643 people were injured and 517 people died. Active shooter drills were implemented in 2013 and helped stifle shootings for a year while the number went down in 2014, but it went up again in 2015. These numbers show that active shooters drills aren’t helpful for students and may even make things worse.
Elementary school students are part of the demographic who must endure active shooter drills, and mentally to them it is quite dreadful. Younger students fear that people will come and shoot them at school. Fifth-grader Dezmond Floyd was featured in an NPR StoryCorps. In it, he tells his mom that he has to think about saving his friends from a shooter rather than himself.
“My life matters, but it’s kind of like there’s one person that can come home to a family - or 22,” Floyd says.
Active shooter drills have been in place for years, and, currently, mass shootings are becoming more frequent. They clearly are not helping as much as schools and workplaces think. Most high schoolers don’t even take the drills seriously by now because of how many times they’ve done these drills. I find them mundane, and no one will be prepared for when a shooting actually happens.
Yes, active shooter drills do give students a frame of reference anticipating this, but the shooters are most of the time students themselves. So, they would know how the drill goes and where people would be due to their own experience.
I think if active shooter drills are to stay, school staff should take into consideration the mental effects of the drills, and how to calm such negative reactions from students. Teachers and students also need to report violent or strange behavior. This was evident in the Virginia Tech Shooting on April 16, 2007. The shooter, Seung-Hui Cho, showed many signs before taking the lives of 32 people and injuring 23. This could have been prevented if students had pointed out his suspicious conduct.
Active shooter drills are not the most effective means to prevent school shootings. Rather we should focus on making mental health a bigger deal and not a joke.