School shootings are horrific tragedies. Although a gun-free schools act was passed in the 90s, somehow an increase in mass school shootings followed. As school violence continues to rise, lawmakers in Washington have pushed to pass a massive gun control policy that some say will not deter criminals as laws against these behaviors already exist. What’s most concerning is that most active school shooters grew up in the public education system and went through active shooter drills. Because of this, they know exactly how students are trained to react and can get around safety protocols to do as much damage as possible.
95% of American schools practice active shooter drills. Teachers are taught to keep track of students, lock doors and windows, and then turn off the lights. Students must keep quiet, and in some scenarios, hide. Although controversial, this is supposed to prepare students for school shooters.
Parents must be notified and give permission before these drills, and many have expressed concerns, but the fear of school shooters increases every time a deadly incident occurs. Thankfully most students will never be involved in a mass school shooting. The chances are 1 in 10 million — the same odds as being struck by lightning.
Despite the statistics, parents are still reeling from last month’s deadly shooting in Uvalde, Texas. Many are calling for the man who was police chief at the time, now city councilman Pete Arrendondo to be removed from office because his mishandling of the situation allowed the school shooter to wander the halls of Robb Elementary School for about an hour. Regardless of the ineffectiveness of the Uvalde police force, the fact that the shooter was an 18-year-old who recently dropped out of school and quit his job is further frustrating Americans. Many are wondering who they are supposed to trust if the police won’t even protect children from school shooters.
Now, experts are warning that because so many school shooters are students, or former students, they have been trained to know exactly how schools will respond to them. They check for unlocked doors, which is the main barrier between intruders and innocent children. They know that quiet, dark rooms may still be full of victims, and oftentimes they are ready to die after their rampages.
Experts are warning that these drills do nothing to save children. That they are traumatizing and unnecessary. Even training law enforcement to practice drills after hours is proving to be ineffective, due to the fact that the Uvalde police force had practiced an active shooter drill just weeks before the school shooter attacked, but that did not prepare them to face the 18-year-old gunman who entered the building through an unsecured, unlocked door.
While many seek answers to solving the school shooter issue, active shooter drills are not as widely supported as they were when introduced to the public school system. Experts are warning against them, and while lawmakers work to create more “common sense” gun restrictions — some states are swiftly passing legislation that allows teachers to arm themselves in the classroom and receive the proper training to defend students directly. Knowing that the Uvalde school shooter entered the building through an unlocked door, “common sense” door locking protocols may be all that is needed to ensure students’ safety.