Active shooter drills in schools need to stop NOW
Teachers in an Indiana elementary school were four at a time taken into a room, told to kneel down, and shot execution style in the back of the neck with “some sort of projectile” that resulted in injuries “to the extent that welts appeared, and blood was drawn.”
Last night, while testifying for support for House Bill 1004 — a bill that addresses school safety — before the state’s Senate Education Committee, representatives from the Indiana State Teachers Association revealed what took place at Meadowlawn Elementary School in Monticello. They then informed the public of it with a series of tweets:
ISTA would like to have educator and student safety addressed in active shooter drills at schools. ISTA heard from members who were injured during a recent training.— Indiana State Teachers Association (@ISTAmembers) March 20, 2019
During active shooter drill, four teachers at a time were taken into a room, told to crouch down and were shot execution style with some sort of projectiles - resulting in injuries to the extent that welts appeared, and blood was drawn.— Indiana State Teachers Association (@ISTAmembers) March 20, 2019
The teachers were terrified, but were told not to tell anyone what happened. Teachers waiting outside that heard the screaming were brought into the room four at a time and the shooting process was repeated.— Indiana State Teachers Association (@ISTAmembers) March 20, 2019
The Indy Star reported that teachers were “asked by local law enforcement to kneel down against a classroom wall before being sprayed across their backs with plastic pellets without warning.”
“They told us, ‘This is what happens if you just cower and do nothing,’” one of the teachers told the IndyStar. “They shot all of us across our backs. I was hit four times.
“It hurt so bad.”
The sheriff’s department involved in the training said it will no longer use the air-powered device, called an airsoft gun, with teachers.
The teachers want to stop this from happening again, by introducing some language in House Bill 1004 that would “prohibit the shooting of some type of projectile at staff in an active-shooter drill.” Yes, teachers should obviously not have to endure this, but is taking being shot by a simulated weapon off the table enough? We really need to reevaluate the benefit of these active shooter drills in the first place.
You can give teachers a “plan” – but you can’t simulate the horror of being faced with a gun-toting madman and having to risk your life to save your students. Do we unknowingly light hallways on fire and force teachers to figure out how to remove students while the school is ablaze? OF COURSE WE DON’T. Because the whole idea of this is utterly ridiculous.
And it’s not just teachers we’re traumatizing with these drills — it’s our kids, too.
Erika Christakis reported for The Atlantic: “At 10:21 a.m. on December 6, Lake Brantley High School, in Florida, initiated a ‘code red’ lockdown. ‘This is not a drill,’ a voice announced over the PA system. At the same moment, teachers received a text message warning of an active shooter on campus. Fearful students took shelter in classrooms. Many sobbed hysterically, others vomited or fainted, and some sent farewell notes to parents. A later announcement prompted a stampede in the cafeteria, as students fled the building and jumped over fences to escape. Parents flooded 911 with frantic calls.”
It was later revealed that this was just the latest and most realistic in a series of drills the students at this school had endured.
Why are we doing this to our kids?
Ask anyone who’s experienced extreme turbulence, been in a war zone, survived a catastrophic car crash… thinking you’re going to die is pretty damn traumatic. And we’re willingly doing this to our children? And as for teachers — they already perform a ridiculously underpaid and thankless job, now we’re adding PTSD from simulated domestic terror attacks to their agendas? Yeah. That seems logical.
Instead of putting the onus on our legislators to actually DO something about our rampant gun problem, we’re putting the onus on teachers. The Florida House just passed legislation to arm theirs. They’re calling the teachers who opt in to the training program “armed volunteer guardians.” The Sun Sentinel reports that as of January, there were about 726 armed volunteer guardians in programs in 25 Florida counties.
This was of course a response to the horrific shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last February, that tragically left 17 dead. But the catch to the response to add more armed adults to a school as a fix? There was an armed resource officer at Marjory Stoneman the day of the shooting. He was an officer for the Broward County Sheriff’s Department. He was armed. He was in uniform. And he never went in. And when police arrived, eight sheriff’s deputies stood outside and listened to the gunfire. The Sun Sentinel reports, “Deputies claimed they couldn’t remember specifics of how they’d been trained for an active shooter. The commander at the scene appeared ‘dream-like’ and overwhelmed.”
A trained sheriff’s department couldn’t even handle the overwhelming nature of a mass shooting at a school. But for some reason, the state of Florida believes teachers who endure a mere 144 hours of training can.
Does this make any sense? Is there any logic here?
Of course there’s not, because when it comes to guns and the lengths politicians will go to protect the NRA’s bottom line, there’s never logic. As per usual, our response to the overwhelming gun problem this country has is… more guns.
And the way we deal with our rampant gun problem only seems more bat shit crazy when we look at the way other countries deal with theirs. Last week, a gunman charged into two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand and murdered fifty people while injuring dozens more. It only took one week for New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to respond with action. “On 15 March our history changed forever. Now our laws will too,” she said in a press conference. “We are announcing action today on behalf of all New Zealanders to strengthen our gun laws and make our country a safer place. Every semi-automatic weapon used in the terror attack on Friday will be banned.”
She added that the law will hopefully go into effect by April 11th and legislation will be “drafted and introduced in urgency.”
And back in America, we’re traumatizing students and teachers and pretending that armed teachers could do anything to stop a domestic terrorist armed with a semi-automatic weapon.
This is madness. We have a voice, parents. We need to use it to protect our teachers and our kids from these traumatizing simulations. As Christakis puts it, “How misguided to take young brains already bathed in stress hormones and train them to fear low-probability events such as mass shootings—and how little most of us think about what we’re doing.”