We’re going to have to go over this again: if your drills to prevent school tragedy actually leave school children traumatized, then don’t do those damned drills. What began with terrorism drills on school buses and then devolved into unannounced school-shooting drills is getting to be so full-on crazy that I sort of can’t believe that anyone thinks any of this is a good idea. The latest story involves police running an unannounced “active shooter drill” at a local middle school while classes were in session. As a part of this insane exercise, police officers went around bursting into classrooms filled with terrified students, weapons out, as they acted out their fun little thespian experience of horror. And, to add insult to injury, school officials notified parents of the drill long after unknowing students were informing their parents that an actual shooting was taking place at the school.
According to Fox affiliate WTVT, officials at Jewett Middle Academy e-mailed parents to inform them of the drill, after it took place. By that point, WTVT reports, cellphones were already filling up with texts from frightened students, who thought there was a real shooter in the school.
Were the parents supposed to be part of this drill as well? Otherwise, exactly what was the point of sending terrified parents barreling towards the school to see exactly what the hell was going on? You’d think school officials must be issuing one hell of a mea culpa, right? Of course not. Realism is the key, yo.
“Unfortunately, no one gets an advanced notice of real life emergencies,” Polk County Public Schools spokesman Jason Gearey said in an e-mailed statement to The Washington Post. “We don’t want students to be scared, but we need them to be safe.”
And you can see his point. But why stop at school shootings? If terrifying students is done in the name of preparing them for terrifying, if not in any way likely events, why not prepare them for tragedies much more likely to occur? Why not tell kids every once in a while that their parents are dead, just to get them used to the eventual occurrence? Or, hey, maybe just burst into their rooms while they’re sleeping occasionally and scream, “You probably won’t be nearly as successful as you think you will!” and then run away, just to get them used to the disappointment of life. I mean, they’ll have to face hardship at times, so why not get them ready for that hardship by making them face fake hardship?
What’s that? You’re saying that way of thinking is crazy-pants? As crazy as, say, the police admitting that the officers in this drill were using real firearms with live ammo?
Stacy Ray told WTVT that she received a text from her seventh-grade daughter Lauren Marionneaux after two armed officers burst into her classroom.Winter Haven police told The Post that one of the officers had his duty firearm – a handgun – drawn. The gun was loaded, as required. The other officer was carrying an unloaded AR-15. According to Ray, one of her other children texted: “I thought he was going to shoot me.”
Get used to it little girl. After all, there’s a tiny, basically insignificant and certainly not growing likelihood that you’ll have to face this situation for real some day. Totally justifies terrifying our children, right?