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Schools to Continue Active Shooter Drills During COVID-19

While millions believe active shooter drills are necessary, a new study is warning of the emotional impact it could have on children.

Posted: Sep 3, 2020 9:47 PM
Updated: Sep 3, 2020 9:50 PM

In Indiana, each school district is required to conduct active shooter drills within the first 90 days of classes, but with schools back in session students and staff will still have to carry out these drills -- while dealing with health and safety practices during COVID-19.

Even without the added stress of classes during a pandemic, one expert says the drills can have lasting psychological effects.

"So when a child is already grappling with that developmental challenge of really distinguishing fantasy from reality," said Psychotherapist, Dr. Erin Leonard. "And they see something that looks very real, or is supposed to be real that's violent, it can really send them into a regression and cause a lot of anxiety and be fairly traumatizing."

While millions believe active shooter drills are necessary, a new study is warning of the emotional impact it could have on children.

An EveryTown research study conducted in partnership with Georgia Tech found the drills led to a 39 percent increase in depression, a 42 percent increase in stress and anxiety, and a 22 percent rise in the concern over death.

Despite studies like this, the state says the drills must still go on.

The Indiana Department of Education issued an Emergency Drill Guideline for the current school year with COVID-19 considerations in mind.

If lockdown drills involve moving to safe shelter locations, social distancing must still be followed, and if a location cannot allow for social distancing, teachers and staff must find a more appropriate spot.

And local law enforcement says the need for the drills, even during a pandemic, remains a top priority.

"Our kids at schools are very vulnerable," Vanderburgh County Sheriff Dave Wedding said. "We owe it to them and their parents to try and protect the children in our schools each and every day."

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