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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

We’re scaring the kids — not helping them

Credit: Georgy Cohen/Twitter

When a parent toured her 5-year-old daughter’s future kindergarten near Boston, she noticed a poem on the board set to the lyrics of  Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star, “reminding kids how to hide from a shooter during a lockdown,” reports Vox.

Lockdown, Lockdown Lock the door Shut the lights off Say no more Go behind the desk and hide Wait until it’s safe inside Lockdown, Lockdown It’s all done Now it’s time to have some fun!

Georgy Cohen posted the rhyme on Twitter. It went viral.

We’re scaring children, not protecting them, writes BrennaDemands on Medium. Active shooter drills are “changing their perception of risk” from something that might happen to something that eventually will happen.

I really hope that in my lifetime that these active shooter drills will be looked back upon as antiquated relics of the domestic terror era, just like the ‘duck and cover’ drills of the 50s and 60s of the cold war era. That there will be a time when children rehearsing their own deaths by a gunman is no longer a normal behavior woven into the American school experience.

She cites Stephen Brock, author of a book on the PREPaRE Model: The most effective thing to do is to ensure that classroom doors can be locked from inside. There is little evidence putting young students through realistic drills (like ALICE) has benefits, says Brock.

“I don’t know how it got to be that people thought that it was a good idea to train elementary grade, primary grade, first grade students to fight back against an armed intruder… Schools are arguably one of the safest places for our young people to be. I don’t want schools to come to be viewed as horribly violent, fatally flawed institutions, because that’s not the case.”

Parents should have a right to opt out their children from active shooter drills, Brenna writes. Lockdown drills should not require students to hide under their desks or in a closet.

I remember air raid drills in first grade in the late ’50s. We were told to put our heads on our desks — to duck, but not to cover. We suspected that would not protect us if the Russians bombed Fort Sheridan, which was not far away. I don’t think hiding under the desks would have made a difference.

What do you think of Brenna’s advice for elementary schools? What about older students?

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