Schools Continue Holding Active-Shooter Drills As Students Learn Remotely

As many schools across the country have transitioned to virtual learning, they have also continued holding active-shooter drills, even as students remained at home. Dan Kois, a writer for Slate, described watching his eighth-grade daughter go through a virtual active-shooter drill back in October.

"The students watched a video on their computers about lockdown procedures, then practiced hiding under desks. And so it happened that in this, the most absurd and bewildering academic year of her life, my eighth-grader tucked herself under the table in her bedroom, to prepare for the possibility that someone might try to shoot her, someday later, at her school."

Kois posted about the experience on a private Facebook group for parents and was shocked at the number of parents from across the country who reported similar experiences.

"'It just baffled me,' said Katie Menschner, a Virginia mother whose three kids also went through remote lockdown drills earlier this year. 'How on earth would that be helpful, to do this drill in our house?'"

While it may seem crazy for schools to hold active-shooter drills while students are in their own homes, many have no choice. Forty states require schools to conduct the training and have not made any exemptions to the law to accommodate for remote learning. There are other factors for keeping the training as well. Many schools receive state and federal grants for conducting the drills. Schools are also worried about legal liability if a shooting occurs when in-person learning resumes.

"They're worried about the potential legal liability," Patrick Blanchfield, an associate faculty member at the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research, told The Verge. "There's a potential class-action lawsuit saying they didn't do the training."

While many parents are concerned about the physiological impact of the drills on their children, at least one parent said they had an easy solution to avoid the active-shooter drills.

"'We just closed their computers,' said Nicole Parker, the mom of two elementary school students in Essex, Connecticut. 'I understand that the state requires them to perform these drills, but I did not invite them into my home.'"

Photo: Getty Images

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