More Than 4 Million Kids Endured Traumatizing Lockdown Drills In 2018

by Cassandra Stone
Image via Phil Mislinski/Getty Images

Many children will suffer a long-term psychological impact by enduring these drills

The Washington Post conducted a study on lockdown drills in 2018, and they found more than 4 million children all across the United States have endured them this year.

Many children have been psychologically traumatized by them in ways that will absolutely break your heart.

During the 2017-2018 school year alone, more than 4.1 million students endured at least one lockdown. On a typical day last school year, at least 16 campuses locked down. Nine lockdowns were directly related to gun violence or the threat of it. The Post’s final tally of lockdowns exceeded 6,200.

Lockdown drills have become commonplace in American schools, this year more than ever. While lockdowns do save lives during real attacks of violence, the procedures themselves (whether “real” or just drills) inflict psychological damage on children who are convinced they’re in danger of getting hurt or dying.

The Post reports many of the millions of children affected have wept openly, soiled themselves, written farewell notes to family and friends — notes that explain what to do with their toys if they die. Teens all over the country sent their parents goodbye text messages, telling them they loved them, during these drills.

The study found that on every school day between Labor Day 2017 and Memorial Day 2018, a school campus in the U.S. went into lockdown because of a shooting or a threat of one. During the entire school year, 220,000 of these students were in kindergarten or prekindergarten.

That is a staggering, sobering reality of what school is like for young children every day in America. While the Post reports most children won’t suffer long-term consequences, a significant amount of children will.

“We have very good data that children in proximity to frightening circumstances, such as those that trigger school lockdowns, are at risk for lasting symptoms,” says Steven Schlozman, a child psychiatrist and assistant professor at Harvard Medical School, per the Post. “These include everything from worsening academic and social progression to depression, anxiety, poor sleep, post-traumatic symptomatology and substance abuse.”

While every threat has to be taken seriously, the greater problem of what these drills do to our children should be at the forefront of every parent’s agenda. The ineptitude shown by our country’s lawmakers when it comes to gun violence should not come at the expense of our children.