What once would have been considered horrifying and unnecessary, is now both necessary and welcomed. Active shooter drills are taking place more frequently in schools throughout the country. In a span of a few years, the increase in school shootings has created the need for local, state and federal law enforcement to have first hand knowledge of potential terror sites.
Schools. Terror sites. What has happened to this country?
Active shooter drills simulate police making their way through a school while gunshots and explosives go off, students are being evacuated and a gunman is assumed to be on the loose. Isn’t this world becoming strange when it’s okay for children to be forced to go through these police practice drills in their schools, and at the same time we have a teacher being investigated for using the word vagina in biology class. Subjecting kids to trauma and potential violence is fine, just don’t mention body parts by name. Makes no sense.
Of course there’s the other side of the coin; being prepared can save lives. Since the shooting at Columbine, active shooter drills have become more and more commonplace. After that shooting, police realized they did not have the luxury of time to wait for SWAT teams to be brought in, the local police were going to need to be able to deal with the situation head-on.
This past week, the West Babylon, Long Island high school was the site of a emergency drill where a gunman was suspected to be in the school building. The police carried modified Glocks with fake 9mm ammunition. Police commandeered the hallways as students were ushered out of the building. While high school and middle school aged children can grasp the need for these drills, a recent practice drill at a New Jersey grammar school caused some anger from parents who were not informed about the exercise beforehand. The tragedy at Newtown has shown that young children are not exempt from the possibility of mass murder, but these drills do present the problem of causing severe mental anguish among very young children who don’t quite understand what is happening around them.
Unfortunately, there is no going back. These tragedies cannot be undone, so creating the safest school environment possible is the only real choice we now have. Too bad terrorizing five year-olds in a move to fight terrorism is the way it needs to be done.