PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — School threats in the Delaware Valley, as well as active shooter drills to prepare students for possible school violence, is a lot for young people to handle. Some are now questioning whether active shooter drills are doing more harm than good.
The drills are scary. Weapons are drawn and actors play roles as victims — sometimes covered with fake blood.
These kinds of drills happen at least twice a year at the high school where Charlize Kepler is a freshman.
“We don’t see it as something that’s so terrifying as some of the older generations, because it’s just kind of how we’ve grown up and lived,” Charlize said.
A survey from the American Psychological Association found 75% of teenagers who already suffer from anxiety and depression in greater numbers than any previous generation, cited mass shootings as a significant source of stress.
“I do worry that our children are going to think they have to constantly be on alert,” counselor Ebony White said.
White, a Drexel child psychologist, says adults need to talk to students about threats and potential safety issues at school.
“It’s important to put things into perspective and be realistic,” White explained. “Just let them know to not be so afraid, that the world and school is generally a safe place, the adults in their lives are there to protect them if something does happen.”
The National Education Association wants to end active shooter drills because of the increased stress they cause for students.
“One of the things we know is not helpful is to have an active, realistic shooter drill that can frighten, terrorize, traumatize the big people and the little people in that school,” National Education Association President Lily Eskelsen Garcia said.
The effectiveness of the drills has also been questioned. The education association says teachers, students and parents should be notified in advance of active shooter drills. The teachers’ union says there needs to be more school-based mental health assistance.