CHICAGO — The nation's largest teachers unions are demanding an end to active shooter drills at schools.
According to a new report from the American Federation of Teachers and the National Educators Association, many active shooter drills are doing more harm than good. They say the drills are traumatizing too many teachers and students.
Notably, Chicago Public Schools and many Illinois districts choose not to involve students in those drills, and the Chicago Teachers Union supports that there is advanced warning and parent involvement.
Law enforcement also values the opportunity to coordinate simulations with educators so all are prepared in the event of an actual crisis.
Often, drills may involve a real-looking gunman, simulated gunfire, fake blood, SWAT teams, or in some cases, no warning.
National criticism is mounting with many questioning the overall approach.
"We've kind of failed our students from the get go if our solution to the gun crisis is active shooter drill, and having to hide in a corner," said Marcus Baltzell, Kansas NEA.
The national teachers unions and an anti-violence group are calling for an end to all simulations that mimic an actual event, and if children do participate, it is age appropriate, with parent involvement.
The report noted cases in which children suffered from anxiety or became fearful of school altogether because of a drill.
Illinois law requires all schools to conduct at least one drill every year.