Teacher unions want schools to rethink active shooter lockdowns and drills

Concerns about active shooter drills

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Two of the nation’s top teacher unions are asking school systems to rethink the idea of using students in active shooter drills.

This call is coming nationally from the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers. The reason, they believe the drills are leaving some students traumatized.

After an increase of school shootings around the country, laws were passed to include new safety measures like emergency drills. Schools are put on lockdown for an active threat drill. The NEA and AFT believe the drills are upsetting some students.

“I’ve heard some stories before in other states. I’m saying we are going a little extreme. I’m thinking as adults, we don’t go that far,” Richard Franklin, AFT Birmingham said.

The teacher unions are pushing to so the give schools plenty of notice before the drills are called and those drills should not be so realistic.

That is a point a former Parker High School graduate and now a grandfather of two future students believes the school system systems should adopt.

“They need to know what to do but if you say its a regular school drill I think it will be a whole lot better,”Earl Fenoy said.

The Jefferson County Sheriff’s office says they do their intense active shooter training without students during the summer months and their lockdown active shooter drills with students are much like tornado drills.

Franklin still has concerns. “We used to have drills all the time and it would be surprise drills. When I started reading stuff being in this area and we had tornadoes I was traumatized,” he said.

Franklin said the Birmingham School system leaves it up to the schools to determine what happens with drills. The Jefferson County Sheriff’s office said their number one goal with the drills is student safety.

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