Everytown Recommends Schools Stop Conducting Active Shooter Drills Because They Traumatize Students

Everytown believes the trauma induced by active shooter drills isn’t worth the increased preparedness. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Hank Gettys/Released)

Everytown for Gun Safety has joined with the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the National Education Association (NEA) to recommend that schools stop performing drills to prepare for “active shooter” incidents on campus.

The anti-gun group cites the lack of evidence for the efficacy of these drills along with the potential for the drills to traumatize students.

“Given growing concern among parents, students, educators, and medical professionals about the impact that active shooter drills can have on student development, Everytown, AFT, and NEA do not recommend these drills for students and believe schools should carefully consider these impacts before conducting live drills that involve students and educators,” the group states on its website.

In its report, Everytown admits that there isn’t enough research to prove or disprove how well active shooter drills prepare students for real-life situations. Instead, they cite anecdotal evidence from media reports to suggest that these drills are “counter-productive” because they may cause “distress and sometimes lasting trauma” in students and educators.

SEE ALSO: Everytown Will Spend $60 Million on 2020 Election, 2x More Than NRA Spent in 2016

The report’s authors cite Melissa Reeves, former president of the National Association of School Psychologists, who says, “What these drills can really do is potentially trigger either past trauma or trigger such a significant physiological reaction that it actually ends up scaring the individuals instead of better preparing them to respond in these kinds of situations.”

Rather than perform active shooter drills, Everytown recommends that schools support policies that “prevent active shooter incidents from happening in the first place.”

These include “threat assessment programs” (read: red flag laws), “access to mental health professionals,” “collaborating with law enforcement,” and “engaging the community to ensure guns are not easily accessible” (read: gun control).

For schools that insist on implementing “reactive” measures to minimize the damage of mass murderers, Everytown has six recommendations:

  1. Drills should not include simulations that mimic or appear to be an actual shooting incident;
  2. Sufficient information and notification must be provided to parents or guardians in advance about the dates, content, and tone of any drills for students;
  3. Drills should be announced to students and educators prior to the start of any drill;
  4. Drill content must be created by a team including administrators, teachers, school-based mental health professionals, and law enforcement and be age and developmentally appropriate. The content should incorporate student input;
  5. Drills should be coupled with trauma-informed approaches to directly address students’ well-being as standard practice; and
  6. Information about the efficacy and effects of the drills should be tracked by schools, including symptoms and indications of trauma (e.g., bad dreams, fear of coming to school, asthma attacks, increased antidepressant prescriptions) so drill content can be reevaluated if students and/or educators are exhibiting signs of trauma.

SEE ALSO: Everytown Slams 2A Sanctuary Movement: ‘They’re Ripping Apart the Constitution’

The report concludes with a call for schools to support gun control measures.

“Finally, comprehensive school safety plans must involve a proactive effort to enact meaningful gun violence prevention policies to enable intervention before a prospective shooter can get their hands on a gun,” the report states, again contrasting “reactive” school safety measures with “proactive” gun control policies. “These policies include the implementation of background checks, Extreme Risk laws, and secure gun storage laws and awareness campaigns.”

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About the author: Jordan Michaels has been reviewing firearm-related products for over six years and enjoying them for much longer. With family in Canada, he’s seen first hand how quickly the right to self-defense can be stripped from law-abiding citizens. He escaped that statist paradise at a young age, married a sixth-generation Texan, and currently lives in Tyler. Got a hot tip? Send him an email at jordan@gunsamerica.com.

{ 16 comments… add one }
  • Mosy Picorny February 28, 2020, 5:06 am

    Stupid sleazy corrupt Joe Biden initiated the “Gun Free School Zone Law” in 1990. He somehow in his demented and corrupt and senile brain wanted to have everyone become vulnerable because posted signs would only affect the law abiding. He supported those intent on murder because it would reinforce his anti-second amendment bias. Biden has been a total negative to the well being of this country!

  • Don from CT February 16, 2020, 9:22 am

    For the first time ever, I agree with Everytown. I’ve witnessed my kids school running Alice drills. They are less than useless.

    Lets also not forget that 95% of school spree shooters are students of the school. Who are also learning about the defensive techniques taught. So they will have plenty of time to plan ways around them.

    It would be better to run the drills after school for teachers and staff only. With maybe some volunteer parents playing the “kids”.

  • Tom Robison February 15, 2020, 4:29 pm

    Metal detectors with armed security is and has always been the answer for school security. There’s no pleasing liberals they can only put up with security to fly on a plane but not to go to school.

  • Aboutjab February 15, 2020, 11:28 am

    Ok Everytown , where is your mental health screening for troubled students? Non-troubled students or former students DO NOT KILL PEOPLE!

  • Bryan February 15, 2020, 9:28 am

    So should we not have fire drills because it could traumatize kids to not use the stove and fire is an antiquated concept? Either school shootings are a problem or they are not. By saying they don’t want to address the issue is having it both ways.

  • KMacK February 14, 2020, 2:58 pm

    “Active Shooter drills” SHOULD traumatize students. They SHOULD be scared enough to automatically do what the Teacher says or do what they’ve been taught to do if the horror of an active shooter should happen to them.
    It might also be a good idea for all students to learn about firearms: Eddie Eagle for elementary schools, “How a firearm works” for middle schools, and “Firearm Safety” for high schools – demystifying these tools will go a long way to taking the wind out of the extremist’s sails.
    Safety should be automatic. Knowledge should be increased and used to bring greater safety. Knowledge is the key to being safe and living a long life in a universe that is eventually gonna kill you.

  • Will Drider February 14, 2020, 2:11 pm

    Just change the name, make it: A Stranger Danger Drill. Kids know the term and the basic concept to get away or findcsafe space. School Staff and LE can do there in depth training on school closed admin days.

    Hundreds of thousands of kids experienced ATOM BOMB Drills at school and you never heard a whisper then or now about them being traumatized. It’s weak minded “helicopter parents”, physiologist who believe there’s no such thing as “normal”.

    Strange that there’s never any mention of “sexual transition” students being allowed to us restrooms, showers and locker rooms of a Sex they physically don’t have: traumatizing other students forced to endure that exposure.

  • Dave Brown February 14, 2020, 11:50 am

    Most of our problems are not a Right or a Left thing as they cannot get nothing done anymore anyway. I suggest we ask these Kids what kind of Program they would have if they were in charge! Honest and they are the ones on The Front Lines as we seem to call it now a days. Ask Em, and see what they would like. If we have a bunch of so called experts saying this works and that doesn’t simply ask The Students what they would do if they were in charge, and then get out of their way…………… Free Your Mind, Be Party Blind.

  • briguy February 14, 2020, 11:39 am

    How about we treat these kids with respect and inform them what the drill is, how to act during these incidents and practice with a tactical mindset. Above all, teach them that they’re more likely to be struck by lightening than being involved in a mass shooting.

    We, as a society, need to stop coddling our kids; we need to get them ready for the world that will chew them up and spit them out if they’re not careful!

  • BG February 14, 2020, 10:59 am

    Since most of the school shooters are students, don’t these drills just let them know exactly how people will react, gather, etc? So they are basically training the next shooter.

  • Mort Leith February 14, 2020, 10:36 am

    Yea, libbies want the kids to stay soft targets and get shot as easily as possible..

    How dare we prepare them to have a chance of staying alive !

  • Mike S February 14, 2020, 9:23 am

    And this just in, from the Committee For Stupid ideas, rape victims should’t fight back.

  • Eric Holder February 14, 2020, 7:39 am

    The drills of duck and cover, hiding in coat rooms in schools and all the propaganda of nuclear war were a lot of fun. Talk about how long we would have until a Russian war head would kill everyone was neato. As an adult my greatest fear is the US Government which has been a ticking time bomb before the cold war. Buckle up kids.

  • Jeff February 14, 2020, 7:20 am

    “The anti-gun group cites the lack of evidence for the efficacy of these drills along with the potential for the drills to traumatize students.”

    How do you prove it didn’t work? Well, if the school doesn’t have an active shooter, that kinda explains it right there.

  • e February 14, 2020, 5:24 am

    Everytown’s comments and opinions seem like a joke. “Everytown recommends that schools support policies that ‘prevent active shooter incidents from happening in the first place.'” If that isn’t bad enough: “engaging the community to ensure guns are not easily accessible”

    Their ridiculous ideas are an insult to people’s intelligence.

    • Ti February 14, 2020, 11:52 am

      Highlands Ranch STEM school shooting – May 7, 2019. Don’t forget this trial when it comes up in the next few months.

      A young man’s life was taken by not cowering, preventing more loss of life

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