Troy, Missouri, one student volunteer, a high school freshman, looked forward to “getting shot”
in an active shooter drill, and seemed to view the entire incident as a sort of game.133 This
phenomenon lies at the other extreme on the spectrum of emotional responses to the active
shooter drills. While some students will be terrified of the experience,134 others will look forward
to it with a disturbing amount of enthusiasm, one that seems to blur the line between fantasy and
reality.135 Some elementary-aged students have incorporated lockdown drills into their playtime
at home, using the procedures they are taught in schools as a recreational activity with younger
siblings, while another has reported nightmares as a result of the drills.136 This type of response
by students begs the question of what will happen should a real shooting incident occur. And
furthermore, what, and how different, will the students’ responses be should that happen? Will
they be sufficiently prepared?
At the other end of the spectrum, the more typical results are manifested, in which
students were more traumatized than anything else.137 In those situations, students felt that the
process was either too lax or too stressful.138 Both of those characteristics can be highly
detrimental in preparing students for the real life equivalent.139
In the middle of these two extremes, some students felt safe and prepared by the active
shooter drills. One student in Arkansas noted that he felt safe and was confident in his school’s
ability to respond to an active shooter.140 With such differing results, it makes sense that schools
would keep active shooter drills in place. But what is the cost of such a decision?
B. At What Point Does Preparedness Go Too Far?
As if the active shooter drills were not sufficiently fraught with controversy, there has
been a push from states and lawmakers as well as special interest groups, such as the National
Rifle Association (“NRA”), to allow teachers or security guards to carry guns in schools.141 In a
notoriously publicized quote following the Sandy Hook school shooting, Wayne LaPierre,
president of the NRA, declared that “the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy
with a gun.”142 The call to use armed guards or to arm teachers has been met with disgust and
abhorrence by many, even some of the NRA’s Republican allies.143
134 Bronstein, supra note 1.
135 See Jack Healy, In Age of School Shootings, Lockdown Is the New Duck-and- Cover, N. Y. TIMES, Jan. 17, 2014, at A1, available at
(providing examples of three young children from North Carolina, Kentucky, and Kansas who have incorporated active shooter drill
tactics into their playtime games); Aronowitz, supra note 120. (highlighting the enthusiasm that participating students felt with respect
to performing in the drills).
136 Healy, supra note 135.
137 Bronstein, supra note 1.
141 See Bronstein, supra note 1; see Dan Friedman & Chelsia Marcus, NRA’s Solution to Prevent Future School Shootings . . . More
Guns at Schools, N.Y. DAILY NEWS (Dec. 21, 2012, 2:32 PM), http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/nra-defiance-newtown-
draws-swift-harsh-reactions-article-1.1225243; see Andrea Billups, Schools, Legislatures Move to Allow Guns on Campuses,
NEWSMAX (Feb. 24, 2014, 3:19 PM), http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/schools-guns-safety-Jim-Irvine/2014/02/24/id/554453/
(expressing conservative views on gun ownership and how those rights should be extended to allow teachers who already have
concealed carry permits to bring their guns to school); see also Republican Lawmaker Whose Son Survived Arapahoe High School
Shooting Wants Armed Teachers, supra note 36 (expressing one lawmaker’s desire to arm teachers in order to better protect students
in case of a school shooting).
142 Friedman & Marcus, supra note 141.