Teachers say active shooter drills unnecessarily scare, stress out children

Published: Feb. 13, 2020 at 6:07 PM EST
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(2/13/2020) - Should active shooter drills stop in mid-Michigan schools?

The country's top two largest teachers unions want to put an end to safety protocol, saying it's unsafe for students and teachers emotionally.

The American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association are making the push with the group, Everytown for Gun Safety Support.

The teachers unions believe the drills cause unnecessary stress on students and it's impacting their every day life.

A local Flushing teacher, Stacey Daniels, agreed something's got to change.

"I did not go into teaching to have conversations with my students on how will we save each other if this should happen," she explained. "I don't like thinking kids start school thinking alright we gotta do this drill. I want them to enjoy coming to school and not worry about something bad happening."

Daniels said the unions are using this push to take a stand, hoping it'll lead to the bigger conversation of gun control and mental health awareness.

Several mid-Michigan schools, working with their local police departments, use the ALICE protocol, which includes the active shooter scenarios.

Some involve students, but for the most part, it's just for teachers.

Daniels said actually having students go through something like that can be just as traumatizing as an actual active shooter situation.

At Flushing High School, she explained, they often do lockdown drills, where they barricade the door, turn out the lights and all hide in various places around the classroom.

"I would be more than happy to revise or get rid of them," Daniels said. "Because I think that, like I said, it's great to have a plan and be prepared, but to what expense of our kids minds and their mental health and the staff and their mental health are we doing to benefit this?"

Flushing Community Schools did not return a request for comment.

Other Genesee County school districts are weighing in though.

Grand Blanc's Superintendent said he wasn't aware of the teachers unions' requests. In a statement, he added, "I believe this is something that will continually need to be monitored and adjusted as we gain more knowledge on how best to respond in situations like this. This unfortunately has become too common in our schools."

Clio's Superintendent said the district does not do the training at the elementary schools. But, he added, when they did it at the high school, the students were grateful for the education.

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