NEA, AFT, and Everytown for Gun Safety Releases Report on School Shooter Drills

The National Education Association, American Federation of Teachers, and Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund have issued recommendations about school shooter drills.

This week, Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund, the American Federation of Teachers, and the National Education Association released a new report, "The Impact of School Safety Drills for Active Shootings." The report makes recommendations on how and when schools conduct these drills and offers guidelines and best practices.

“It’s now clear that unannounced active shooter drills are scaring America’s students without making them any safer,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown. “We need to listen to the experts and focus on addressing gun violence before it begins.”

The report makes recommendations and offers guidelines and best practices. One of the key recommendations is not to conduct the drills without telling students and staff that it is, in fact, a drill. Creating a situation where students believe there is an actual shooter in the building are traumatic to those involved and can potentially have lasting consequences that have nothing to do with safety and preparation for an actual event, according to the report.

"Mental health professionals have begun warning about the effect of these drills on students’ well-being and about the possible short- and long-term consequences on school performance and physical and mental health," it states, continuing: According to Melissa Reeves, former president of the National Association of School Psychologists, “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.” 

Among the recommendations, the organizations cite these six stipulations to running the drills:

  • Drills should not include simulations that mimic an actual incident;
  • Parents should have advance notice of drills;
  • Drills should be announced to students and educators prior to the start;
  • Schools should create age and developmentally appropriate drill content with the involvement of school personnel, including school-based mental health professionals;
  • Schools should couple drills with trauma-informed approaches to address students and educators well-being; and
  • Track information about the efficacy and effects of drills

Read the full press release below.


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