“There’s a stark difference between a lockdown drill and active shooter training,” Massachusetts educator Jennifer Leung asserts in a comment underneath the post School Lockdown Calculus: The Line Between Preparedness And Trauma at commonhealth.wbur.com. “Our school asks kids to practice by pretending a shooter is in the building. They have been taught to throw books or water bottles to defend themselves against semiautomatic gunfire. In training with the adults alone police admitted some kids will not survive the worst case scenario with this technique. Middle school children aren’t stupid. Many of them find these drills . . .
terrifying and disorienting. Some would choose not to participate if they had the right, but neither students nor teachers may opt out. They feel abandoned by the adults in this country who claim nothing can be done to protect them from angry, deranged attackers while at school. I have nightmares after every drill. It’s an abdication of responsibility and an empty promise to the children and families we serve that somehow this victim-practice is all we need to keep the bogeymen away.
Who said active shooter training is “all we need” to defend against terrorists and madmen bent on slaughtering our children? That’s exactly the kind of false dichotomy that salesmen use to move the metal. “Do you want to buy this new car or do you want to break down and be stranded in Roxbury some Saturday night?” “Do you want more gun control or do you want your children to die from a school shooter?”
As for the article’s contention that active shooter training can traumatize children, sure, it’s possible. (The author’s admission that “We also have almost no data that documents the effects of these drills on students” doesn’t convince me that this is a genuine issue.) The key to making the drills less potentially psychologically damaging: putting the threat and responses into context. Setting the exercise within the framework of a lesson on the importance of fighting to win.
Oh wait. Children aren’t supposed to fight. Hell, there are school districts where they’re not even supposed to “win.” Yeah, that’s a problem. [h/t SS]