In 2018 alone, 4.1 million children were subject to at least one lockdown drill at their schools. The reasons for the lockdown drills varied from safety drills to active-shooter scenarios. These drills can be extremely traumatizing for children because they often aren’t told what’s going on and assume that they’re in grave danger.
The Washington Post found in an investigation that on average 16 schools were lockdowns per day. 9 out of the 16 schools were locked down due to gun violence or the threat of it. The paper investigated school records and thousands of news articles to determine that there were at least 6,200 lockdown drills in U.S. schools. But many schools in larger metro areas don’t keep records of how often they occur, so that number is likely higher.
“Active shooter drills are a constant reminder that you’ve got a bullseye on your back,” James Alan Fox, a criminologist at Northwestern University who studies mass shootings, said to Fatherly in May. “In the wake of a shooting, students sometimes say that if there had been drills they would have known what to do. Maybe. I’m not sure there’s hard evidence it would have prepared them.”
It was the worst year for gun violence in schools since 1999 when 13 people were murdered at Columbine. 33 people were killed in 2018. The Post also discovered in their investigation that because of the 25 school shootings last year, 25,332 were directly exposed to gun violence at the schools they attended.