Keep Realistic Shooting Drills Out of Primary Schools

Target: United States Secretary of Education Arne Duncan

Goal: Stop the police department from conducting realistic gunfire drills in primary schools

Gun control today is a topic of serious discussion, and it is understandable that practices are changing in lieu of recent incidents involving guns and gunmen. In order to “prepare young students for crisis,” some schools are allowing their local police departments to conduct realistic shooting drills in elementary schools. While it is wise that the police have decided to take precautions and prep students for such terrors, these exceedingly extreme methods of mitigation are now under fire. Many parents of young children feel that the scenario only causes fear and anxiety, for no one can truly prepare for the horrors of a gunman’s attack. Appeal to the United States Department of Education and ask that they exempt primary schools from realistic shooting drills.

While preparing young children for potential attack may be a necessary step to protect them in the future, simulating an actual attack has a plethora of negative effects on youth. Some professors of psychology have also voiced their opinions and believe that there are better ways of teaching young ones to prepare for a gun attack. “I don’t think that’s necessary, and I would think it could raise people’s anxiety unnecessarily,” said one professor at the University of Buffalo. Many other parents agree that such a practice should be reserved for older students who better comprehend the goal of a drill: to prepare, not to scare. Young children, despite being told what a drill is, may still be terrified by gunshots in the hallway and armed policemen breaking into their classrooms.

In some drills, students and teachers were “shot” with blanks and covered in fake blood and wounds for the other children to witness. There are certainly many children who would not find this horrific and would possibly even find it funny with the knowledge that it is a drill. Yet, there are still students who may retain these violent images and allow such memories to cause unnecessary anxiety. It is for these young students that realistic shooting drills must be stopped in primary schools. For most, a gun and some blood is no different than what they see in video games and on television, but for others, the prospect of a gun attack can spike anxiety levels and cause more harm than help. There are better ways to prepare students for crisis situations that do not include the adrenaline rush and anxiety of a true and spontaneous, albeit unlikely, attack. If drills do incite terror, then they have been taken too far.

Appeal to the United States Department of Education and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and ask that these drills be reserved for students who are older and better able to handle the emotional repercussions of a realistic shooting drill.


Dear Secretary Duncan,

While your efforts in preparing young children for gun attacks are commendable, it is distressing that many young children between the ages of five and ten must endure realistic shooting drills for the sake of knowledge. Likely for most children, these drills are no more violent than the video games they play and the television shows they watch, but for a few, such realistic scenes can cause unnecessary harm and anxiety. It is for these children that these drills must be stopped and reserved for students above the age of ten. These older students are better able to comprehend the goal of a drill and understand that, despite an armed drill sergeant breaking into their classroom, they are still safe and can learn from this practice.

Please spare young children from gunshots and fake blood, and teach them instead through drills that do not have the potential to evoke terror. While a gun attack is certainly a terrible event, a drill does not prepare students to feel the same vulnerability and fear that they would in a real attack. If they do feel these things, then the drill has gone too far. Children can be as easily trained to hide in a closet without the addition of firing blanks, and I urge you to consider reserving this very emotionally affecting method for students who are older and overall less emotionally affected by crisis drills.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Naples News

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