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Is shooting a gun in a school safety drill a huge step in the wrong direction?
January 30, 2013 at 5:05 PM

Firing Off Blanks in School Safety Drill Sends the Wrong Message to Our Kids

Posted by April Daniels Hussar on January 30, 2013 

gunIf you have a kid at Cary-Grove High School in the Chicago suburbs, he or she is going to hear gun shots today. Don't worry, though, it’s all part of the plan ... for someone to shoot a starter pistol in the hallway during the school’s “Code Red” drill. Because it’s not frightening and disturbing enough that our kids have to undergo safety drills that have nothing to do with natural disasters -- now, apparently, they need sound effects!

In a letter to parents, the school principal explained that this crazy plan is to “provide our teachers and students some familiarity with the sound of gunfire.” The police chief elaborates, “The purpose is to take the Code Red drill one step further” because “many” students have “never heard a gunshot before.” And they shouldn't have to -- especially at school!

During the drill, teachers will lock their doors, close their curtains, and keep the kids in their rooms while police “sweep” the building and someone fires the gun. How insanely scary is that? Is this really the kind of military state we want to accept that we live in? I’m sick enough at the thought that my daughter’s elementary school has “lockdown” drills; I hate them, but I accept them. Adding gunfire to the mix totally crosses the line between helping the staff and the children be prepared to face a crisis and just plain scaring and traumatizing them.

Plus, firing off a gun in a school -- even if you’re shooting blanks -- does more damage than just freaking everyone out. It both normalizes AND sensationalizes the idea of a deadly weapon being discharged in a place that’s supposed to be safe. Some kids are going to find it scary, others will find it exciting, but they will all get the message that their school is not secure.

I’d keep my kid home on a day with something like this planned. What do you think? Am I overreacting to a pragmatic move?

Is shooting a gun in a school a huge step in the wrong direction?

Replies

  • Woodbabe
    January 30, 2013 at 5:06 PM

    Is this really much different than the DARE program bringing drugs to school to show the kids what to look out for and to avoid?

  • stormcris
    January 30, 2013 at 5:08 PM

    I think it is a huge step in the right direction for the majority.

    It is interesting that it is mentioned "supposed to be safe". Why do people still believe that such a place of control exists in this day and age where we all know that control is an illusion.

  • UpSheRises
    January 30, 2013 at 5:10 PM

    I don't think so.

    Some kids have never heard a gun shot. If you really want them to be prepared for that kind of emergency then a shot seems appropriate.

    Im not convinced that kind of preparation is helpful though.

  • LauraKW
    by LauraKW
    January 30, 2013 at 5:12 PM
    First reaction: I HATE the idea. Now I'm going to think about it for a while and mull over the pros and cons.
  • LuvmyAiden
    January 30, 2013 at 5:16 PM

    Especially in chicago kids need this. Hell ALL kids need this. They need to know the sound so they can identify it and know what to do. Muscle memory and mental training are huge parts of why some live through a bad situation and some do not. Schools are LESS safe than pretty much anywhere due to thier gun free policy so why folks still beleive they are safer than anywhere else is beyond me. Kids need to understand the reality here and know how to cope. Kids shown reality generally are NOT the ones who go shoot up schools. Education is key here, just as it is in so many other areas.

  • punky3175
    January 30, 2013 at 5:21 PM
    I liked the other article already ousted in this article much better. It came off way less hysterical. No it's not a step in the wrong direction - it's a step in the necessary direction.
  • stringtheory
    January 30, 2013 at 5:23 PM
    I think it's slightly desensitizing...which could be argued as good or bad for an emergency situation. When I say desensitizing, I don't mean in that it would make guns attractive, I mean it normalizes the SOUND that would otherwise cause shock or surprise and the "fight or flight" reaction. When surgeons do laser eye surgery, they have you listen to the sound of the laser turning on before the surgery so that you don't jump when the surgery is actually underway; same idea here: the gun may not sound as scary in the real emergency... Which could either make one more complacent, or less panicked. I'm torn.
  • stormcris
    January 30, 2013 at 5:26 PM

    I had thought about this. But some people would also mistake a gun shot for fireworks and think it nothing to be concerned about and the flight or fight response can be deadly as well. 

    Quoting stringtheory:

    I think it's slightly desensitizing...which could be argued as good or bad for an emergency situation. When I say desensitizing, I don't mean in that it would make guns attractive, I mean it normalizes the SOUND that would otherwise cause shock or surprise and the "fight or flight" reaction. When surgeons do laser eye surgery, they have you listen to the sound of the laser turning on before the surgery so that you don't jump when the surgery is actually underway; same idea here: the gun may not sound as scary in the real emergency... Which could either make one more complacent, or less panicked. I'm torn.


  • Veni.Vidi.Vici.
    January 30, 2013 at 5:28 PM

    I need more time to process this...

  • lga1965
    by lga1965
    January 30, 2013 at 7:35 PM

     Hearing gun shots has to be stressful and it seems kids of today already have too much stress in their lives. A practice drill or in depth discussions of what to do in case of an emergencey is enough. They don't need that much realism, I don't think.

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