A Mom Is Going Viral For Sharing Her At-Home Active Shooter Drill
Her TikTok video shows how she trains her 5-year-old to shield himself with his bulletproof backpack.
So it’s come to this. Back-to-school prep used to consist of buying your kid a new pair of sneakers, going to Target for school supplies, and doing a dry run to the bus stop. But now an increasing number of parents are adding at-home active shooter drills and bulletproof backpack inserts to their fall activity list.
Among them is Cassie Walton, a 23-year-old mom who didn’t want to send her 5-year-old son, Weston, to kindergarten without protection and a plan amid the school shooting epidemic that is gripping the nation.
She posted a video on TikTok of how she taught her son to keep safe in the case of an active shooter, and the video has gone viral, with over 7 million views in just a week.
Walton, who was born the same year as the Columbine school shooting in 1999, said she grew up with active shooter drills and understands what they entail.
"We would have threats all the time, and you'd never know which ones are serious and which ones are not serious," Walton said to ABC News. "So you have to be prepared, no matter what, to go from zero to 100 in the blink of an eye."
Now, just months after the Uvalde massacre, in which 19 students and 2 teachers were murdered at school, Walton was more sure than ever that her son needed to be safe and prepared as he started elementary school.
"It makes me feel very sad that we have come to this as a country, and I wish I could be different," she told TODAY, adding that she’s afraid “something will happen to him in a place where he is supposed to be the most safe."
“If a teacher called over the intercom and says, ‘This is not a drill, everyone go in a corner and be really quiet and still,’ what do you do?” she begins.
“Get in a corner and be really quiet and still,” he answers dutifully.
“Now show me how you use your bulletproof backpack,” she says. “OK, good job.”
"If a teacher says, 'Weston, you don't need your backpack, let's get in the corner...'" Walton prompts.
Weston responds, "I say, 'No, I need it; it's bulletproof.'"
“If the police are outside the door and the shooter is in your room, and they call out, ‘Is anybody in there,’ what do you do?
“I say, ‘I’m here—’” Weston begins.
“Absolutely not; you don’t say a word,” she cuts him off. “If the shooter is in there, you stay absolutely silent.”
“If you get out of the building, where do you go?” she asks.
“Outside. Home,” he says.
“You run as far away from the school as you can go. Mom will find you,” Walton concludes, her voice trembling.
Walton told TODAY that she was surprised by the response the video has gotten.
"I didn’t expect it to get as much as it did," she said. "I was just trying to show what we do at home and share a product that I recommended, and maybe inspire other parents to break the ice to have this important talk."
Comments on the video had two major themes: how sad it was that parents are worrying about this, and how it doesn’t have to be this way.
“As a teacher… this breaks my heart that this is even necessary. Bless his little heart,” one person wrote.
“We are failing our kids. I'm sobbing. I have a first grader and 7th grader. I feel this daily. I'm so sorry, baby,” wrote another.
“From Australia, with my little guy ready to start school soon too, with his spiderman backpack, this whole thing just made me cry, America,” one commenter shared.