Home > Uncategorized > School Safety Drills Mandated in Indiana Public Schools vs. Assault Weapon Bans in New Zealand

School Safety Drills Mandated in Indiana Public Schools vs. Assault Weapon Bans in New Zealand

March 22, 2019

I read a post on Facebook this morning that sent me to Google to do some research. The post described an active shooter drill in Indiana that strained credulity, but proved to be based on facts. Here’s the account of the “active shooter drill” as reported in Education Week:

In an active-shooter training, Indiana elementary teachers were asked to kneel down and face a classroom wall before being shot, execution-style, with plastic pellets by local law enforcement.

Terrified teachers were screaming during the exercise, which left them with welts and bruises, according to the Indiana State Teachers Association, which testified about the experience to lawmakers this week. State legislators are considering a school-safety bill that, among other things, would require schools to conduct at least one active-shooter drill each school year. The bill has already passed the state House, and is now being considered by the Senate.

While union leaders support the bill, they want safeguards put in place so that teachers and students are not inadvertently harmed during active-shooter trainings.

Indiana already mandates on “man-made occurrence” drill pre semester, but some districts can opt out and substitute fire drills based on a 2018 report from Fox News.

According to the Indiana Department of Education (DOE), districts are required to conduct one “man-made occurrence drill” each semester. Those drills could include bomb treats, knife threats, or active shooter training. It’s up to each district to decide which of the drills they choose per semester.

Some districts do more than one drill each semester. The state allows schools to substitute a monthly fire drill for an active shooter or lock down drill, if they choose.

And to help organize and review these drills, Indiana requires that each district have a school safety officer who is “...responsible for developing and implementing preparedness plans.”

But this preparedness is not limited to schools:

Indiana State Police (ISP) troopers often go into businesses and offices to teach active shooter training. Sgt. Trent Smith said mass shootings bring an increase in local organizations wanting to learn tools to keep people safe.

ISP teaches the “run, hide, fight,” approach to an active shooter. Sgt. Smith said even with plans and procedures, sometimes tragedies can happen…

Sgt. Smith said that such preparation is necessary because people who are intent on committing mass murders plan carefully, which means fastidious prevention plans are necessary, as are the need to report suspicious behavior:

“These people are very well versed in what they’re doing, their plan. They know what the response time is going to be. They know where the large groups of people are going to be. They know they have a limited amount of time to do as much damage as possible,” Sgt. Smith said.

To prevent a tragedy, Sgt. Smith said sometimes the best procedure is prevention. He says it’s important to speak up and be vocal if you see something suspicious.

“We don’t want to be the agency that’s responding to it, we want to be the agency that’s out there trying to prevent this tragedy before anything like this ever happens,” Sgt. Smith said.

There was a horrific mass murder committed in New Zealand over the weekend. Their Prime Minister and legislators acted quickly and decisively in response to the shooting, imposing an immediate ban on assault weapons.

Our country to this point would prefer to allow “these people” who commit mass murders who “are very well versed in what they’re doing” to plan ahead by acquiring whatever weapons they need to do as much damage as possible in the limited amount of time they have. What if we took away the opportunity for them to get those weapons instead of mandating drills in schools and offering preparation plans to businesses and offices? What if we decided that we’d rather ban assault weapons than subject students and teachers to “man-made occurrence” drills, drills that require elementary children to cower in corners while their teachers are subjected to “realistic” drills? And in Indiana’s case, what if they mandated a counselor in each elementary school instead of mandating drills that allow local law enforcement officials to shoot teachers with pellet guns?

But the overarching questions are these:

What if we spent scarce dollars for schools on helping disengaged students instead of “safety officers”, surveillance cameras, and facial recognition software to identify potential intruders?

What if we forbid the acquisition of weapons designed to kill people instead of encouraging children and citizens to report suspicious behavior to the police?

What if we operated our democracy based on loving our neighbors instead of fearing “these people” who are very well versed in planning mass shootings?

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