With school shootings becoming more common, many districts have mandated that schools have a stipulated number of drills each school year to prepare students (“School shooter drills terrorize our kids pointlessly,” New York Post, June 3). The rationale is that doing so will lessen the possibility of harm.
Yet critics argue that such soft—lockdown drills unnecessarily create severe anxiety in children. Moreover, they say that the odds of being killed by a gun in school is roughly 1 in 614,000,000. By comparison, the odds of dying in a car crash are 1 in 103. As a result, critics ask why we react so differently to the two threats.
I don’t doubt that these drills are capable of making young children in particular anxious. But what are overlooked are the legal implications of abolishing the drills, which in today’s litigious society would leave districts open to lawsuits claiming negligence. It’s a little like doctors practicing defensive medicine in order to protect themselves against malpractice suits. Both strategies may seem unnecessary at first glance, but are necessary.
It’s impossible to make all schools 100 percent safe. But there are things that schools can take to lessen the possibility. Stationing screening agents at the front door is a step in the right direction. Critics will complain that doing so violates the privacy rights of students. Yet that’s a small price to pay.
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