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With More Schools Running Active Shooter Drills, What Possible Psychological Consequences Exist For Younger Students?

Sep 11, 2019

 An Alameda Police officer evacuates volunteer students wearing makeup to simulate injuries during a school shooting and mass evacuation drill at Lincoln Middle School May 22, 2007 in Alameda, California

An Alameda Police officer evacuates volunteer students wearing makeup to simulate injuries during a school shooting and mass evacuation drill at Lincoln Middle School May 22, 2007 in Alameda, California; Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

AirTalk®

It’s difficult to turn your attention to any media source these days, traditional, social or otherwise, and not see or hear someone talking about a mass shooting.

With the seemingly ever-increasing visibility of incidents like these, despite their statistical unlikelihood, many parents are feeling the pressure to address the situation with their children as more school districts implement planned lockdowns and active shooter trainings to better educate and prepare both students and faculty. But some parents are also wondering whether or not these kinds of active shooter drills might do more psychological harm than good.

There’s no widely-accepted blueprint for how to conduct an active shooter training in school, but the National Association of School Psychologists and National Association of School Resource Officers do have guidelines for school districts on some of the best practices for planning and conducting these kinds of trainings in a manner that will be informative and that won’t induce more stress or anxiety among students. But outside of that, most districts have to contract with private organizations that offer these types of trainings for young kids in school. 

Today on AirTalk, we’ll look at how these drills are conducted for younger students of elementary and even preschool age, and talk with a school psychologist about the best way to talk about these trainings with your kids if they’re happening at their school.

For more information from NASP on talking to your child about active shooter drills at their school, click here. If you are an educator or administrator or district official and would like to learn more about preparing your students for an active shooter drill, click here.

Guests:

Steve Smith, president of Guardian Defense, an active shooter and emergency response training company based in Boca Raton, Florida

Cathy Paine, school psychologist based in Oregon and lead of the National Crisis Response Team for the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP)

Ken Trump, president of National School Safety and Security Services, a school emergency planning consulting firm based in Cleveland, Ohio

This content is from Southern California Public Radio. View the original story at SCPR.org.

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