Reconsider Active Shooter Drills
What does it solve?
95% of American public schools drill students on lockdown procedures. Yet, there is almost no research affirming the value of these drills for preventing school shootings or protecting the school community when shootings do occur.
Students, educators, and staff have experienced distress and sometimes lasting trauma as a result of active shooter drills. Everytown does not recommend these drills for students, and believes schools should carefully consider these impacts before conducting live drills that involve students. While only 0.2% of gun deaths a year occur on school grounds, drills to prepare students and staff to respond in the unlikely event of a shooting have become a near-universal practice in American schools today.
How it works
Proactive school safety measures save lives.
In the absence of any conclusive evidence on drills’ effectiveness at ensuring safety during actual active shooter incidents, Everytown urges school decisionmakers to assess whether the potential but unproven benefits of these drills outweigh their known collateral consequences to school communities’ mental health and wellbeing.
A strong body of research affirms the value of proactive school safety measures, such as threat assessment programs, access to mental health professionals and social support, non-punitive disciplinary processes, and trauma-informed emergency planning for teachers in reducing a school’s risk of gun violence and mass shootings. As part of these efforts, schools must also work to develop a supporting and nurturing school environment, and be aware of and attentive to warning signs of potential violence. States should make funding available for schools to implement these programs, and lawmakers must pass common sense gun violence prevention policies such as background checks on all gun sales, Extreme Risk laws, and secure gun storage laws, which prevent prospective shooters from getting their hands on a gun.
By the numbers
School-based drills are required in at least 40 states.