OWENSBORO, Ky. (WEHT) They’re supposed to help students and teachers respond to an active shooter, but some groups say active shooter drills can be too traumatizing.
Three groups, including two teachers unions, call for changes to the drills or stopping unannounced drills altogether. But one man visiting the Tri-State who has experienced an active shooter disagrees.
To prepare, high schools and colleges use active shooter drills.
“The thing is you always want to be prepared in the event something like this happens,” says Jared Revlett of Owensboro Public Schools.
The American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association, and Everytown for Gun Safety say unannounced drills, or ones that simulate shootings, should not be used since they could harm a student’s mental health. They recommend drills that don’t simulate a tragedy, parental notification and have age appropriate drills. But there are those who say the exercises serve a purpose.
“Even though you practice it at times that are convenient for you, I think very much you need to have those and they are very effective,” said Trent Lovett, superintendent of Marshall County Schools, who spoke in Owensboro on Friday. His school saw an active shooter two years ago. He says his students do lockdown drills, but not active shooter drills. He says those drills helped teachers and students know what to do during the shooting at Marshall County High School.
“It puts your mind in a state similar to what we faced the day of the shooting. To put yourself in that frame of mind and get yourself ready for what could possibly happen, I think they’re very beneficial,” says Supt. Lovett.
Owensboro Public School staff participated in an active shooter drill last year. Revlett says no one come forward saying the drill was too traumatizing. Students get advanced notice of a lockdown drill.
“We tell everyone in the building we’re about to do a lockdown, just to give them a heads up and say, ‘We’re going to do this. It’s just a drill. It’s just practice. Keep everyone calm,'” says Revlett.
In a statement, American Federation Of Teachers President Randi Weingarten says students are already experiencing record levels of trauma and anxiety, because of the threat of shootings in schools, and with how drills have been done.
(This story was originally published on February 14, 2020)