Are school lockdown drills helpful or harmful?

Updated: Jun. 4, 2019 at 10:44 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Lockdown drills in the event of a school shooter have almost become a staple of our kids’ school experience. But could they be doing more harm than good?

Are school shooter drills terrorizing children?

A New York Post columnist thinks so writing “having children hide in a closet and practice being quiet is at best a waste of time and at worst a way to emotionally scar the children we’re trying to shield.”

The article goes onto say, “locking the front doors and equipping schools with cameras are a far easier fix than having kids hide in closets”.

Mac Hardy with the National Association of School Resource Officers says shooter drills shouldn’t terrorize students if they are done the right way.

"We don’t think going in with simulations and cap guns and loud bangs is a part of this. It doesn’t need to be done. A lot of times it’s a teaching drill. We allow teachers to teach the kids how would we react in the case of an emergency, Hardy said.

The National Association of School Psychologists says lockdowns can save lives and are considered best practice in crisis response.

UAB psychologist Dr. Josh Klapow says common sense will tell you shooting drills, especially realistic ones, can be very frightening for children. Klapow says if the drills are done properly, they shouldn’t stop doing them.

"Given the best practices that we have, given the studies that we have that show how to do it properly and given the reality of gun violence and intruders in our schools, there’s no reason to stop drilling our kids as long as they are done appropriately,” Dr. Klapow said.

Hardy believes shooting drills are a sign of the times. He says schools have an obligation to prepare students and staff for emergencies.

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