Active Shooter Drills May Not Stop A School Shooting — But This Method Could

A new comprehensive report from the U.S. Secret Service underlines the agency’s previous findings that there is one safety approach that does work: threat assessment, as part of a comprehensive program of social and emotional support for students.

…Rory, 7, is on the autism spectrum and has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

…After seeing Rory’s reaction, Dianne says she doesn’t think any kids should have to participate in drills like these.

“Fair enough,” says Melissa Brymer of the National Center for Child Traumatic Stress. “But an emergency can happen at any point in a school day.”

Brymer believes these drills can save lives, but as one recent study from Ball State University found, there’s little evidence to prove that.

…According to the report, 83% of the attacks were over in five minutes or less. And 68% of the schools already had a lockdown procedure in place — making it the most common security measure among schools in the report. 

…Schools need a much more comprehensive approach, emphasizing “multidisciplinary” prevention in the years, months and days before a student actually shows up at school with a weapon.

…She defines threat assessment as a proactive approach in which schools “identify students who are doing concerning behavior or may be in distress and getting them the help they need before they even resort to violence as an option.”

One common source of distress, according to the report, is bullying and ostracism.

…Over a decade ago, the Secret Service conducted a small study in which it talked to “bystanders” — students who had heard warnings from a fellow student before a planned attack. In six cases a shooting was prevented, and in a further nine cases a shooting happened.

In the bystander report, students who came forward told investigators they did so because they had a strong relationship with at least one adult at the school and they thought their concerns would be taken seriously. Students who did not come forward said that they thought the school would not take appropriate steps or they would get in trouble themselves.

Active Shooter Drills May Not Stop A School Shooting — But This Method Could : NPR


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