Md. Bill giving advance notice of active shooter drills to the school communities.
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Schools at present are holding active shooter and safety drills in Maryland. At the same time, lawmakers are questioning whether these drills are conducted appropriately and if they are causing more harm than good. The Maryland State Del. Jared Solomon has recently proposed a bill asking the system to inform parents and teachers about the shooter drill that is being planned ahead of school time. Solomon is a former high school teacher. Recently, in a hearing on House Bill 515, he stated, “We have to make sure that students understand what needs to happen if, God forbid,” an active shooter were to gain access to a school.
Schools need to determine if the drills would induce anxiety or fear among the children.
Solomon said, “When we do a fire drill, we don’t mimic the fire,” Solomon said.
Drills are to be conducted in an age-appropriate way.
Schools are given a heads-up for the drills.
According to the bill, the schools should be given a heads-up and a follow-up session after the drills. This ensures that the kids who have experienced trauma from the exercise should be helped. The legislation got motif to make out all kinds of benefits that the drill would offer the students for the activities they have conducted so far! Jan Donohoe McNamara, a Bethesda resident and volunteer with Moms Demand Action, said to a legislative panel that her brother-in-law, John McNamara, was killed in the mass shooting at the Capital Gazette offices in the year 2018. She further received a message stating that the drill was called off as it was a year anniversary of the mass shooting in Parkland that resulted in the assassination of 17 people. She said it is significant that she and her husband got a chance to decide how to move forward because the administration had allowed them to do so!
Villegas’ statement regarding the shooter drill
Melissa Villegas of Howard County said her seven-year-old daughter got anxious after the drill. Her little daughter said, “We have to make the room dark, but it didn’t get dark enough. We could still see each other, so I know we would die,” on questioning her about what made her so worried. Her third-grade son was also behaving strangely as he was being taught to throw anything and do anything he could while the drill was on. Nina Atrokhov, a junior at the Bethesda Chevy Chase high school, described the whole exercise as terrifying. John Woolums, with the Maryland Association of Boards of Education, testified in opposition, saying that there is a potential for the trauma that the drill can bring along with itself. Still, at the same time, kids should also need to build muscle memory and learn to respond to an emergency.