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Advocacy groups say active shooter drills in school cause trauma

ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- On Tuesday, several groups including teachers unions and gun safety advocates spoke out against active shooter drills in schools.

The National Education Association, American Federation of Teachers, and Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund released a statement saying active shooter drills can cause anxiety and fear in students.

Rochester Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America co-leader, Alisha Eiken, says her group also agrees with the problem these simulations can cause.

"We all want to keep our children safe from gun violence in schools, but traumatizing them in the process is not the answer," she said. "We need to rethink how these drills are done without doing more harm than good."

I spoke with another mom with school-aged children who thinks the training is helpful.

"I think it would be important. Just because if something like that did happen. Kids should be prepared for something like that I don't think you should go blindly into the situation," Nicole Hoese said.

Along with the statement, the groups against the drills released a multiple page report with recommendations for how to better assess training they include:

  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.

A high school student we spoke with said lockdown drills at her school used to scare her but also says she now feels prepared for an intruder alert.

"I can see how it would cause anxiety for the kids to cause it did for me," Eleni Hoese said.

Her mother Nicole thinks that while the drills are useful, reevaluation could also be helpful.

"If reports are coming back that it's causing certain things then maybe they can change how things are done to make it less anxiety-ridden for kids," Nicole said.

KaMaria Braye

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