Teachers unions sound alarm on active shooter drills

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SEATTLE -- Two national teachers unions are sounding the alarm on the negative effects of active shooter drills on students as more public schools engage in lockdown drills.

The report, compiled by the Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund, the American Federation of Teachers and the National Educators Association, takes a stance against active shooter drills for students. It points to concerns about the impacts on kids' mental health, as well as limited evidence on whether the drills are effective.

Instead, it encourages school safety plans that focus on preventing gun violence.

Linda Mullen with the Washington Education Association says our state doesn't have its own policy regarding active shooter drills, but stresses that schools should be making sure they're not doing more harm than good.

"In some cases the drills are quite extreme, and schools are supposed to be safe places," Mullen said. "In some cases we're traumatizing kids, and that should not be the goal. If schools and districts are doing active shooter drills, we want them to think ahead about what they're doing."

The report offers six guidelines for schools that conduct active shooter drills:

  • Don't use simulations
  • Give parents advanced notice
  • Give teachers and students a heads up, too.
  • Address the content and the students' well-being
  • Track the effectiveness of the drills.
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