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How Do We Approach Getting Prepared for School Shootings

Updated: Dec 7, 2023

Most Americans agree students should be prepared for school shootings; however, they differ on how to approach this issue.

The majority of Americans say children should have some active shooter drills in schools. Still, a new NPR poll finds that how to conduct those drills and what safety measures schools should invest in is divisive.

The poll looked at three measures to keep children safe in schools:

  1. Social and emotional standards

  2. Security measures

  3. Training measures

Democrats were more inclined than Republicans to support investing in social and emotional efforts like guidance counselors, anti-bullying campaigns, and increased mental health education over expanded security measures. And the difference is enormous - 65% to 38%. Republicans strongly favored expanded security measures like metal detectors, bulletproof glass, or clear backpacks over social and emotional actions.

Many Americans, 88%, support lockdown procedures, but differences surface regarding how to conduct these drills. Some schools use realistic simulation by simulating gunfire, fake blood, and victims. Other schools feel this traumatic approach traumatizes children, creates anxiety, and does more harm than good. These schools feel like if they could get more counselors in the schools and arm some of the faculty, these measures would significantly impact reducing school shootings.

Heard on All Things Considered NPR

Sequoia Carrillo

October 23, 2023 - 6:25 PM ET

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