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Over-Zealous Drills Harm More than Prepare

By Net Assets posted 03-25-2019 08:15 AM


(from EdWeek and ABC News) As schools ramp up active-shooter drills, some training tactics — especially those meant to simulate real-life scenarios — are doing more harm than good, educators and safety experts say. Stories have sprung up around the country of law enforcement officers firing blanks in hallways to demonstrate the sound of gunfire, pelting teachers with projectiles and showing video footage from actual shootings as part of their staff training exercises. In a recent drill in Indiana, teachers were shot execution-style with plastic pellets, leaving some with welts and bruises.

School security consultants and psychologists say wide variability in active-shooter training, overzealous methods and techniques that encourage fighting back can lead to injuries — both physical and psychological — for educators, and increased liability for schools and law enforcement. Those tactics, some meant to give participants a “scared straight” experience, aren’t necessary, they say.

Furthermore, leaders are questioning how schools are spending their safety and security budgets. “It’s frustrating to us that when we struggle to find resources for mental health resources, for smaller class sizes, and other things that would help get to the root causes of these tragedies, money is tight, but here we're spending money on what is obviously not a professionally run training program,” said Dan Holub, the executive director of the Indiana State Teacher’s Association.

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