Active shooters are traumatizing kids, drills are not

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Active shooters are traumatizing kids, drills are not

Active shooter drills have been criticized for being too traumatic. But what about active shootings?

Active shooter drills have been criticized for being too traumatic. But what about active shootings?

Kayla Holt

Active shooter drills have been criticized for being too traumatic. But what about active shootings?

Kayla Holt

Kayla Holt

Active shooter drills have been criticized for being too traumatic. But what about active shootings?

By Amelia Burton, Watkins Mill High School

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Recently, articles have popped up pushing the idea that “active shooter drills are traumatizing” and calling for schools to ban them. As a high school senior, this directly affects me.

These articles aren’t directed toward the actual students this is going to affect, they’re directed towards the adults who aren’t in the schools during these drills.  They’re being written by people who haven’t been in school for years, yet they want to put their two cents into something that isn’t going to personally affect them.

These are the same people who thought hiding underneath a desk was going to protect them from a nuclear bomb, yet they’re arguing that active shooting drills are “traumatizing” students.

There are definitely districts that have taken the drills too far by firing blanks and shooting rubber pellets at teachers, execution-style. And no elementary school-aged child should have to cower in fear in a classroom. But the drills that MCPS conducts simply educate students on the best way to escape or hide based on each specific classroom. As a student, I am grateful to have this practice. 

The majority of these shootings take place in high schools and American high school students are living in a reality where that is something we are afraid of. To take the practical drills away will not only cause more anxiety when students feel unprepared to handle it, but it will also leave students panicking and unable to respond safely if the worst does happen.

Drills are meant to prepare the students and teachers whether the situation is likely to happen or not. It gives students a sense of security knowing the school and teachers are taking responsible measures to make sure we are safe; in case such a thing happens. We have tornado drills every year too, yet the odds of an MCPS school being destroyed in a tornado are extremely low. I don’t see anyone complaining about that.

The thought of someone coming into my school and trying to harm people is the most terrifying thing to imagine. But if you asked me if I felt safer as an incoming freshman with no knowledge of how to protect myself if such a thing happened, I would say no. There’s nothing about being uninformed that is going to make students feel safer in such a scenario. 

The Atlantic, Forbes, The New York Times, amongst others are talking to a small percentage of people and none of them actually asked a high school student how they feel about shooting drills. 

We’re the ones still having to go to school. Ask us what we think. Ask us what we want in order to feel safe. And then stop making decisions about our lives without including us. We know and understand more than adults give us credit for.

This story was originally published on The Current on October 1, 2019.