fallout over the practice of the drills,122 it stands to reason that the legislation might not pass with
such ease this time around. A further problem with amended legislation is that it causes a liability
problem. With states directing schools on exactly what procedures to carry out, there becomes a
chain of liability that was not present before, leaving the states open to more lawsuit potential
than what already exists.123
Conversely, if the legislation was clearer on what schools can and cannot do with respect
to carrying out these active shooter drills, this could prevent the drills from becoming even more
alarming or desensitizing than they currently are.124 As will be discussed further in Part V,
children are at risk of becoming desensitized or hypersensitive to the active shooter drills.125 The
risk here is that those children may be at a disadvantage should a real active shooter ever be
present on school grounds. This would be contrary to the entire purpose of the legislation and the
preparedness it aims to instill in the classroom.
V. THE IMPACT OF ACTIVE SHOOTER DRILLS IN SCHOOLS
A. What this Legislation Means for Current and Future Students
The legislation for active shooter drills varies from state to state,126 but the reactions to
the drills seem to be very similar.127 The drills are being met with a great deal of criticism and
concern from parents, students, and staff alike.128 One potential result of these drills, critics argue,
is that students and staff will not be sufficiently prepared should there be a real active shooter on
school grounds.129 If the drills are only achieving shock value, that is, if they only highlight the
under-preparedness of the staff and students,130 then they are unlikely to bring about any
meaningful improvement. An arguably worse consequence is that students, in their eagerness to
perform the drills,131 may no longer take the drills seriously enough should they be performed
regularly at alarming levels.
Some schools have heightened the attractiveness of the drills to a point where students
look forward to playing the roles of victims.132 In a particularly disturbing quote from a school in
122 See Bronstein, supra note 1 (highlighting the growing concern over the efficacy and extreme nature of the drills and the spreading
media coverage of the trauma and upset that active shooter drills are causing).
123 See NASP REPORT, supra note 105, at 4 (explaining the current lawsuit potential for schools implementing active shooter drills).
124 Id. at 5.
125 See Aronowitz, supra note 120.
126 See MO. ANN. STAT. § 170.315.3 (West 2015); see N.J. STAT. ANN. § 18A:41-6 (West 2015); see Safe Schools Initiative Act,
ARK. CODE ANN. § 6-15-1303(a) (West 2015); see 105 ILL. COMP. STAT. ANN. 128/15-40(1)(A), (2)(A)–(C).
127 McGuiness, supra note 92. Compare Stephanie Mencimer, Active Shooter Drills Don’t Really Prepare People, But They Do Make
Them Cry, MOTHER JONES (Sept. 5, 2014, 10:58 AM), http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/09/active-shooter-drills-lawsuits
(explaining the terrified reactions of individuals in the workplace and in schools during unannounced active shooter drills and
expressing the futility of the practice), with Denise Civiletti, Realistic ‘Active Shooter’ Drill Held at Riley Avenue Tests School,
Emergency Response to Horrifying Scenario, RIVERHEAD LOCAL (Nov. 15, 2014, 12:11 PM),
http://www.riverheadlocal.com/2014/11/15/realistic-active-shooter-drill-in-riverhead-tests-emergency-response/ (explaining how a
well-planned drill to informed participants can be successful, but still anxiety inducing).
128 Bronstein, supra note 1; Maxim Alter, Students, Parents: No Warning Before Active Shooter Drill at Hughes STEM High School,
WCPO 9 CINCINNATI (Apr. 27, 2015, 2:27 PM),
http://www.wcpo.com/news/local-news/hamilton-county/cincinnati/students-parents-no-warning-before-active-shooter-drill-at-hughes-stem-high-school (highlighting the anger felt by both students and parents, how the
lack of information led a student and parents to call 911 in response to the drill, and quoting one parent’s grievances over the lack of
communication); see also Elisha Fieldstadt, Teacher Sues Oregon School District for Traumatic Active Shooter-Drill, NBC NEWS
(Apr. 21, 2015, 3:00 PM), http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/teacher-sues-oregon-elementary-school-traumatic-active-shooter-
drill-n345631 (explaining that one Oregon teacher involved in an unannounced active shooter drill during an in-service day has now
filed a federal lawsuit as a result of the trauma she felt when the mock gunman simulated shooting her).
129 Alter, supra note 128; McGuinness, supra note 92.; Mencimer, supra note 127.
130 McGuinness, supra note 92.