The United States has had a horrifying number of school shootings over the past 20 years, with what appears to have been a hike in incidents ever since the deadly Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012 where 20 school children and six administrators were killed.
According to the statistical research conducted by CNN, in the last 10 years there have been 180 school shootings across America, with 356 victims total. Last year held the highest number of casualties coming in at 37 of those who were killed and another 68 injured in the process.
However, instead of having the federal government step in with effective gun control laws, many K-12 schools, as well as colleges, have taken to active shooter drills.
Active shooter drills typically consist of re-enacting a school shooting incident. Those involved in the re-enactment are placed into the situation as though it were happening at that moment. Police involvement is typical during the re-enactments, with authorities participating in the simulation as they would if it occurred in real life.
These re-enactments tend to include life-like guns, realistic sound effects and actors specifically placed to appear as though they have been shot and injured, or even dead. Unfortunately, these drills only cause a false sense of security while heightening the possible risk of trauma and stress onto the participating students.
Practicing for an active shooter can only go so far, and once a student is placed into such a dangerous position their fight or flight response is activated, completely throwing out any previously learned tactics through simulation. When an active shooter is present, bad things are going to happen regardless. These simulations lead students to believe that a re-enactment will solve the issue when it will not. Providing students with a false sense of security in the form of a traumatizing simulation only does more harm than good.
Traumatizing not only students but educators as well in the re-enactment through the use of life-like guns, heavy police presence and realistic sound effects only causes heightened fear and anxiety that should not be present in our education system. School shootings remain an issue that cannot be ignored, but we have decided to instead traumatize our youth so as to avoid addressing the root cause of the issue and that needs to change.