Washington lawmakers consider banning active shooter drills in schools

OLYMPIA, Wash. – A proposed bill seeks to prohibit active shooter drills in Washington schools. 

House Bill 1941 is sponsored by Representative Amy Walen, who says these drills are traumatizing for children. 

“School shootings are relatively rare, and we should not prepare our children to be anxious and afraid at school,” Whalen said in an online newsletter. “There is no research affirming the value of active shooter drills for preventing school shootings or protecting the school community when shootings do occur.” 

Walen says it is “evident” that these drills increase depression, anxiety and fear among children. 

A 2020 study from Everytown for Gun Safety and the Georgia Institute of Technology revealed that active shooter drills do increase depression, stress and anxiety. It also found that these drills are associated with increases in fears about death. 

Additional studies suggest drills involving armed assailants are no more effective than regular lockdown drills.

School districts are required to hold safety-related drills like shelter-in-place, lockdown and evacuation. HB 1941 looks to prohibit live simulations of or reenactments of active shooter scenarios that are not trauma-informed and age and developmentally appropriate. 

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