As a society, America has forgotten how to be human. It began with the assumption that unlimited immigration would not become an endgame demographic nightmare and metastasized until people couldn’t connect “no human contact, dehumanize yourself by covering your face at all times” with spikes in mental illness and suicide.
Along the way, somebody got the bright idea that training for school shootings should involve elementary-age children roleplaying their own violent deaths while being shot at.
AAP: Schools should avoid high-intensity live crisis drills
By David J. Schonfeld, M.D., FAAP, 24 August 2020
AAP = American Academy of Pediatrics
Prior to widespread school closures due to COVID-19, increasing concerns about mass casualty events in schools led to a burgeoning investment in school security and routine lockdown drills by most U.S. school districts.
I found myself at an active-shooter drill once, when my fieldwork schedule coincided. It was no big deal. A couple squads of up-gunned cops jogging around, discussing procedures and what-if scenarios and basically learning the geography of the school grounds… practical stuff and done during the summer vacation with no kids around.
I had no idea how far some of the tacticool badges were taking it:
Some districts utilize high-intensity active shooter drills that involve real weapons, gunfire or blanks; theatrical makeup to give a realistic image of blood or gunshot wounds; predatory and aggressive acting by an individual posing to be the shooter; or other means to simulate an actual attack. At times, students and staff are deceived into believing they are responding to an actual active shooter event, presumably to create an even more realistic experience for participants.
The boldfaced are BAD IDEAS even in the adult world. Not everybody relies on the Thin Blue Line for their safety. How long until staff go Flight 93 on a particularly convincing crisis actor?
These practices occur despite an absence of research demonstrating their efficacy and with little guidance on how best to protect children and staff from unintended negative psychological and emotional harm from such exercises.
To put it clinically.
A new policy statement, Participation of Children and Adolescents in Live Crisis Drills and Exercises, provides some guidance. The policy, from the AAP Council on Children and Disasters, Council on Injury, Violence and Poison Prevention, and Council on School Health, is available at https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2020-015503 and will be published in the September issue of Pediatrics.
Common sense, now with published guidelines!
Some high-intensity active shooter exercises were designed to mislead students and staff into believing they were experiencing an actual shooting event, according to AAP. In at least one situation, armed weapons were pointed at school children. In another live exercise, high school students sobbed hysterically, vomited, or fainted, and some children sent farewell notes to parents. Children risked physical harm when a stampede ensued, and students jumped over fences to escape.
Could those chuckleheads have really been that stupid?
Teachers ‘executed’ in shooter drill sue Indiana sheriff’s office for trauma, injury
By Mitchell Willetts, 25 August 2020
This may have been the incident provoking the new guideline.
An active shooter drill went too far at an Indiana elementary school, drawing real blood, and causing true trauma for the teachers playing victim, according to a lawsuit filed this month against the sheriff’s office that put on the mock exercise.
Teachers at Meadowlawn Elementary School came to work Jan. 4, 2019, aware of the planned training, but not what the White County Sheriff’s Office had in store, the lawsuit says.
The training included: high-velocity plastic pellets fired at point-blank range, breaking skin, leaving scars; screaming, expletives, and verbal abuse, according to the suit.
“The teachers displayed obvious signs of anguish and physical pain, but were humiliated to find the law enforcement officers joking and laughing at them,” the suit states.
The experience caused “lasting physical and emotional injuries,” and a group of eight teachers, represented by the National Education Association, are seeking compensation. …
Officers were supposed to be conducting ALICE training, a program that’s been taught in thousands of schools and businesses, according to the company’s website, and promotes “proactive strategies” to survive active shooter situations.
I’ve blogged previously on the uselessness of ALICE training. Link but I’ll skip it.
Between drills, teachers would quietly compare injuries. Often they were bleeding. Still, many said they didn’t feel they were allowed to opt out, and so continued to follow commands of the officer, the lawsuit says.
Female herd instinct.
More exercises were held throughout the day — a “run and hide drill,” a “barricade drill,” and a “counter-assault drill” — with more shooting.
One teacher has “a permanent scar” on her stomach from being shot, the lawsuit says.
Another described hiding under a table to avoid any more pellets, but an officer found her and shot her three more times.
“Throughout the Rotating Drills, Officers repeatedly smirked, laughed, and joked, including in moments when teachers were being hit with bullets, crying out in pain, or demonstrating extreme fear,” according to the suit.
For men, that could have legitimately been a fun time. I’ve been tapped a time or two to LARP for a National Guard coworker’s platoon. But yeah, it’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye.
Though the officers were certified ALICE instructors, and had provided training at schools and workplaces for years, the program never calls for shooting participants with high-velocity pellets or “ever using force on participants without first obtaining their consent,” the lawsuit says.
“I’ve worked with teachers in other districts who have gone through ALICE, and this did not happen,” Barbara Deardorff, an Indiana State Teachers Association official, told the Indianapolis Star in 2019. “This is not the normal practice.”
Considering how rare active shooters are, there’s little response needed besides locking the doors, closing the windows and checking in over the intercom. Training hard for a one-in-a-million event is wasted effort.
As I did in my selfie-link, I recommend GOLD training instead of ALICE. Get Out or Lie Down. Done. Send those earmarked training budget dollars to gunnerq at paypal dawt com….
3 September 2020
Since the 1999 Columbine shooting in Colorado that left 12 students and one teacher dead, active shooter drills in the U.S. have become more common.
These drills, sometimes unannounced, are designed to teach students and faculty how to act in the event an active shooter is in their school, often involving masked gunmen actors and fake gunfire.
In some instances, students learn how to quickly lock doors, turn off lights and take shelter, but new research released Thursday shows that regardless of education level, the mental health of all involved is significantly stained with increased levels of depression, stress and anxiety following drills.
It passes the test of reasonableness. Me being a tabletop gamer, I once roleplayed myself in a zombie apocalypse scenario. It was surprisingly not fun at all, to imagine my life falling apart in unpredictably violent ways.
A nonprofit called Everytown for Gun Safety collaborated with the Georgia Institute of Technology to analyze nearly 28 million Twitter and Reddit posts in a search for terms such as therapy, suicidal, pain and pills that could indicate heightened concern or fear around the time of scheduled drills.
“This research unveiled alarming impacts of active shooter drills on the mental health of the students, teachers, and parents who experience them,” the report said. “In their current state, active shooter drills threaten the well-being of entire school communities over prolonged periods of time, leaving those who are affected in need of continued support to process their aftermath.”
The research team discovered that social media posts alone displayed a 42% increase in anxiety and stress from the 90 days before active shooter drills to the 90 days after them. The frequent use of words such as “afraid, struggling and nervous” served as evidence, according to the report.
Signs of depression increased by 39% based on posts that featured the words “therapy, cope, irritability and suicidal” following drill events. Concerns about friends grew by 33%, concerns about social situations rose by 14% and concerns about work soared by 108%, the researchers found.
“I can tell you personally, just as an educator, we were not okay [after drills]. We were in bathrooms crying, shaking, not sleeping for months. The consensus from my friends and peers is that we are not okay,” one anonymous K-12 teacher wrote on social media, according to the report.
Worries over health also jumped by 23% while fears about death rose by 22%. “The analysis revealed words like blood, pain, clinics, and pills came up with jarring frequency, suggesting that drills may have a direct impact on participants’ physical health or, at the very least, made it a persistent topic of concern,” the researchers wrote.
An anonymous parent tweeted, “my kindergartener was stuck in the bathroom, alone, during a drill and spent a year in therapy for extreme anxiety. in a new school even, she still has to use the bathroom in the nurses office because she has ptsd from that event.”
And for some comic relief, from California Highway Patrol – Santa Cruz:
9 March 2020
Talk about bad luck! When a 55-year-old Santa Cruz man fled from CHP this afternoon, he drove directly into the parking lot where an active shooter training exercise was being held with CHP, State Parks, Santa Cruz County Sheriffs office and numerous Fire and EMS personnel at Roaring Camp Railroad in Felton. The pursing Officer was soon accompanied by numerous law enforcement officers including our newest officers who recently reported to Santa Cruz. The incident ended with an arrest for evading and DUI.
A better approach
The policy outlines considerations regarding live active shooter drills in schools. It recommends eliminating children’s involvement in high-intensity drills and exercises (with the possible exception of a limited number of adolescent volunteers who have provided active consent/assent); prohibiting deception in drills and exercises; and making appropriate accommodations that address the unique vulnerabilities of individual or groups of children.
Translation, use common sense. If the phrase hasn’t yet been retired for obsolescence.
Rather than focusing only on preparing for mass casualty events, schools and communities are encouraged to increase efforts to prevent violence.
Sigh, of course they’re Woke themselves. “Prevent violence” is code for “control the children more tightly”. First they rightly see the cops not connecting “simulate your violent death” with emotional trauma, then they call to treat children like barely controlled monsters even more. Which was the justification for militarized active-shooter training in the first place. “We gotta be ready when the next kid blows! We know he’s here in this room… we just don’t know which one!”
Our society doesn’t know how to be human anymore.
[Increased efforts] would include investments in social-emotional learning…
Good for girls, bad for boys.
…positive school climate and culture…
Good for girls, bad for boys.
…early identification of behavioral health concerns and mental illness and effective and readily accessible treatment…
Medicate the boys when forcing them to act like girls doesn’t work. How original.
One wonders if these people actually care about the traumatized kids, or if they only care about the traumatized single-mother ghetto-rat feminist schoolteachers with DADDY ISSUES!
…training for educators and school administrators…
…sufficient mental health and support personnel in schools…
and interdisciplinary threat assessment.
Get spanked, Barbie. Having some boundaries imposed upon you will do wonders for your mental health and interdisciplinary threat assessments. At least you can recognize evil when it shoots bean bags up your nose… oh wait, you continued obeying their orders until a nicer male-authority figure came along!