On School Shooting DrillsSubmitted by mdefarge on Thu, 05/02/2013 - 23:15
In response to the "surprise" drill in Oregon that terrified teachers...
IF those teachers had MINDS OF THEIR OWN, they would be calling for the firing of the "school staffers" who participated. For God's sake, it could have triggered someone to have a HEART ATTACK or STROKE - caused someone's DEATH or PARALYSIS. I mean, if just being TRAUMATIZED isn't bad enough.
It doesn't matter that guns were unloaded. Teachers didn't know that. In a U.S. Supreme Court case (re a bank robbery) that decided an unloaded gun was nonetheless considered a dangerous weapon, among other reasons given by the court was: "the display of a gun instills fear in the average citizen; as a consequence, it creates an immediate danger that a violent response will ensue.." Yeah. Especially when brandished by a figure in a ski mask.
"McLaughlin v. United States, 476 US 16 - Supreme Court 1986"
But whereas, in Oregon, the drill was a "surprise" attack, even in a school in California where everyone was aware it was a drill, it STILL instilled fear. Students who participated as actors were themselves terrified. Of course, the screaming and fake blood added to the effect.
"Calif. authorities hold graphic mock school shooting"
"School Shooting Drills: How Realistic Should They Be?"
Unfortunately, educators don't have minds of their own. They're conformists. Really, you'd think that at least some of those Oregon teachers would have had a fit to have been scared out of their wits like that. (Of the 15 teachers, the article said "only two would have survived.") Imagine how surreal it must have seemed. Imagine the pounding hearts as thoughts flashed through their minds: "He's aiming at me. OH, GOD! I'M GONNA DIE! OH, GOD! I'M SHOT! What's happening? I don't feel anything. I'm not shot! Oh, thank God. But he couldn't have missed. The gun was pointed right at me. Wait. No one is bleeding. What? Who are these people..."
Clearly, if they don't weed you out in teacher ed for showing some tell-tale sign that you have a mind of your own, they get you in some weak moment during your non-tenured years. Not one teacher in that meeting room screamed, "What the ^%&*, you %^& idiots! You %^&* scared me to death!" and punched one of the mock gunmen before storming out? No. The good teachers predictably responded, noting how much better off they were as a result.
Never mind that the "school shooting drill" will likely be the ONLY time in their lives they'll feel that terror, thinking they're being shot at by madmen. A school shooting is a HIGHLY UNLIKELY event. Since 1980 (including at colleges), there have been 137 shootings. That averages to just over 4 per year. Bearing in mind that there are 132,200 (K-12) schools and 6,700 colleges, 138,900 schools in total, for any given school, what are the chances that a shooting will occur? 4/138,900. That's less than a 1% chance. Less than a 0.1% chance. Less than a 0.01% chance. It's a 0.003% chance. Remote.
Slate chart of school shootings and death toll
And not to diminish the tragedy that each such event has been, each child's death, but relatively speaking, it's not a major cause of death. The study above shows that, over the past 32 years, such shootings have claimed 297 lives. That averages to about 9 deaths per year. That's comparable to the annual number of children KILLED IN SCHOOL BUS ACCIDENTS. In fact, school bus accidents INJURE between 8,000 and 17,000 children each year. (NHTSA statistics vs. American Academy of Pediatricians estimate based on emergency room visits for bus-related accidents). http://www.safetyissues.com/site/school/school_bus_accidents...
Not that bus accidents are the only cause of "unintentional injuries," the leading cause of childhood deaths:
"Childhood unintentional injuries are the leading cause of death among children ages 1 to 19 years, representing nearly 40 percent of all deaths in this age group. Each year, an estimated 8.7 million children and teens from birth to age 19 are treated in emergency departments (EDs) for unintentional injuries and more than 9,000 die as a result of their injuries—one every hour. Common causes of fatal and nonfatal unintentional childhood injuries include: drowning, falls, fires or burns, poisoning, suffocation, and transportation-related injuries. Injuries claim the lives of 25 children every day."
2012 CDC Report (See Executive Summary)
If SAVING CHILDREN FROM DEATH AND INJURY were the actual goal here vs. KEEPING EVERYONE IN A PERPETUAL STATE OF FEAR, then we'd be taking measures on behalf of not the nine children each year who die from school shootings but 9,000 dying from accidents. Instead of staging TERROR DRILLS, there would be a major national campaign around the issue of SAFETY. Too bad teachers will soon no longer view classroom windowsills as a nice place for growing sunflowers in paper cups. As one teacher put it, the drill prompted her "to think of windows as escape routes." Mission accomplished!
It's prudent to have emergency plans in place at schools. And school shootings are especially horrific; being intentional, they rightly do make an impression on us differently than unintentional injuries. But each year, for every 1 death from a school shooting, there are 1,000 deaths caused by accidents. And so such extreme drilling to prepare for such an unlikely scenario that, furthermore, claims relatively few lives makes no sense. Unless sparing the lives of children is not, actually, the motivation.