A third-grader on active shooter drills at school


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After a gunman entered Oxford High School in Michigan last December, students who had been trained how to respond in such an event hid and sheltered in place. Though four students were killed and seven were wounded, some school safety experts said the active shooter drills appeared to have saved lives and that students are better off feeling prepared.

Training, ubiquitous in era of school shootings, appears to have saved lives in Oxford

After the killings last week of 19 students and two teachers at an elementary school in Uvalde, Tex., new questions are being raised about whether the training — which is done in nearly all U.S. public schools — is useful and whether for many students, especially young ones, they can do more harm than good.

Uvalde schools have a safety plan. The shooting showed its limits.

Everytown for Gun Safety, a nonprofit organization that advocates for gun control, says on its website that questions have been raised about the drills in regard to an “overreliance on preparing for rare events; the feasibility of children retaining the information; increased risk of harm associated with fighting back; risk of counterproductive information-sharing given that many mass school shooters are current or former students of that school; and risk of inducing trauma.” Other issues include an inconsistency in drills — “with some schools providing advanced parental notification and developmentally appropriate exercises, and others employing “masked gunmen” actors, simulated gunfire, and failing to inform participants when the drills are over.”

“With for-profit companies charging school districts thousands of dollars for trainings, the active shooter drill industry is part of a school safety industry worth an estimated $2.7 billion — all in pursuit of a practice that, to date, is not evidence-based,” it says.

With all of that in mind, here are some tweets about the usefulness of these drills that raise their own questions about whether they are useful and why this country needs them:

What school shootings do to the kids who survive them, from Sandy Hook to Uvalde


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Natasha M. McKnight

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