If you've got a child in school, then chances are they are familiar with or have gone through a lockdown drill. We're not talking about the fire or earthquake drills we did as kids. Remember those? Lining up and walking out to the field or blacktop and waiting for the whistle? Sadly, our kids aren't being prepared for how to respond in a fire or natural disaster. They're being taught how to respond should someone come into their school or classroom with a gun. Mass shootings in schools have gripped the nation's attention, and they're something that our kids have to contend with now. The debate surrounding how to address these mass shootings, and gun control in general, rages on. But nearly all schools have adopted some kind of lockdown procedure in the face of a threat, just in case their school is next. These lockdowns may seem harmless to the casual observer, or may even seem necessary to some people. But if you think lockdowns aren't having a profound impact on our students, on our kids, then you are mistaken. An analysis by the Washington Post shows that lockdowns are doing more than preparing our kids to survive a mass shooting - they're traumatizing them.
Just pubbed, the most comprehensive review of lockdowns ever done: More than 4.1 million students endured one last school year, and the effects were often devastating — kids wept and soiled themselves, wrote wills and texted parents goodbye. w/ @dataeditorhttps://t.co/gAA2HCCm3C— John Woodrow Cox (@JohnWoodrowCox) December 26, 2018
The Washington Post reports that over 4.1 million kids experienced a lockdown at school during the 2017-2018 school year. When a threat is determined, a school goes into lockdown. It can be hours before a lockdown is lifted, and students know that they are safe. While we know they are meant to keep the kids safe, it's hard to imagine how stressful and terrifying it must be to endure one.
With 5 days left in the year, America has witnessed 55,700+ incidents of gun violence/gun crime, 14,300+ gun deaths, and 27,500+ gun injuries in 2018. pic.twitter.com/SDDBCWTowh— Gun Violence Archive (@GunDeaths) December 26, 2018
The Post reports that some kids text their family members that they love them, just in case they die. Students cry, soil themselves, and some even wrote wills in case they were shot and killed. They are scared and confused. Teachers bribe kids with candy to stay quiet, and every noise a classmate makes escalates the fear that they will be discovered. They create a culture of fear and breed anxiety.
And they are, sadly, one of the only tools we have against mass shootings in our schools at this point in time.