Wednesday’s school shooting in Florida seems to illustrate that all those lock-down drills kids and teachers have been doing since the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary five years ago might be working.
Stories are coming out about how the kids and teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School acted when they learned there was an active shooter on their campus. They did what their drills taught them. Teachers put kids into closets. Kids hid and got quiet and waited for first responders to clear the scene. Knowing what to do may have saved many lives.
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Many kids, though, might not have thought the active shooter could be a fellow student or former student (there’s conflicting reports on this). They might have been waiting for the active shooter stranger to walk through the doors, not someone their age.
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And yet, Sandy Hook, which made schools start doing active shooter drills, is the exception. Most of the school shootings have been caused by students wanting to harm fellow students as a response to bullying and/or a mental health crisis.
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While we’ve been focusing on what to do as an active shooting is happening, are we doing enough to prevent it?
Are we doing enough for kids who struggle with mental health diagnoses?
Are we identifying kids who don’t seem to be on the fringe of the social scene and intervening?
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Are we preventing kids from gaining access to guns? That means that you, parents, are keeping your guns locked up and not providing your child the code to the gun safe.
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Are we letting our kids know what to do if they see someone who seems a little off? Who seems distant or disgruntle? Or has a plan of violence?
If your kids watch the news or see something on social media, we’ve done stories about how to talk to kids about mass shootings before when the shootings at Sulfur Springs happened and Las Vegas. The lessons, unfortunately, still apply.