shooting incident is incredibly low.157 The odds of “any particular K-12 school in the United
States experiencing a shooting incident in any year are approximately 1 in 53,925.”158 By that
logic, the likelihood of a school shooting happening at any one school is low enough to not
warrant the firing of blank ammunitions on school grounds, given the significant trauma this
action often causes students. Instead, a frank discussion about weapons could be an acceptable
alternative. If a school still does not feel that this is sufficient, then perhaps an unloaded weapon
could be brought to school for visually demonstrative purposes only. Although the sight of a gun
could be traumatic in itself, it would still be preferable to the visceral reaction the sound of shots
Perhaps the most important alteration to the active shooter drill would be prior mandatory
notice to parents, students, and staff. Much of the issues that school districts face center around
the lack of informed consent to these drills.159 Notice and explanations of what the drills will
entail along with their purpose could go a long way in ensuring meaningful preparation, rather
than causing trauma from the sheer shock value of the exercise.
D. What Are the Legal Consequences?
At this point, the complaints that schools across the nation have received in response to
these active shooter drills have stayed within the school system.160 The consequences have thus
far been limited to a revision of the active shooter drill procedure, or simply a promise to
forewarn parents and students about when the school will be conducting the drills.161 The concern
with active shooter drills being too traumatic is not limited to parents and students. In fact,
teachers from Missouri, where active shooter drills are required by law in schools, have expressed
significant concern.162 They have complained to the Missouri State Teachers Association about
the drills being “overwhelming” and that instead of feeling prepared to help, their reaction has
been that they will not know what to do if an active shooter does come onto school grounds.163 At
one school in Oregon, teachers were “shocked and caught off guard” after the school held a
shooting drill.164 During an in-service day in which students were not present, two masked men
burst into a room, where fifteen teachers were having a meeting, and began firing guns with blank
ammunition.165 The terrified staff members only realized it was not a real shooting when they
noticed that none of them were bleeding.166
157Youth Gun Violence Fact Sheet, NAT’L ASS’N SCH. PSYCH. (2013),
158 Maximillian Wachtel, School Shootings: What Are the Odds?, PSYCHLAW J., http://www.psychlawjournal.com/2012/12/school-
shootings-what-are-odds.html (last visited Apr. 18, 2015).
159 See, e.g., Mom Says Local Grade School’s Active Shooter Drill Traumatized Child, KMOV (Feb. 13, 2014, 6:28 PM),
160 See id. (expressing one mother’s grievances through the use of the media).
161 See generally Aaron Mesmer, Parents Furious After Unannounced Shooter Drill at Polk Middle School, FOX 13 NEWS (Nov. 14,
2014, 3:36 AM), http://www.myfoxtampabay.com/story/27383629/parents-furious-after-unannounced-shooter-drill-at-polk-middle-
school (explaining the parent outcry and the subsequent repercussions following an unannounced active shooter drill).
162Dan Frosch, ‘Active Shooter’ Drills Spark Raft of Legal Complaints, WALL ST. J. (Sept. 4, 2014, 3:04 PM),
164 Teachers Shocked, Frightened After School Holds Unplanned Shooting Drill, CBS SEATTLE (May 2, 2013, 6:53 AM),
http://seattle.cbslocal.com/2013/05/02/teachers-shocked-frightened-after-school-holds-unplanned-shooting-drill/; see Fieldstadt, supra
note 128 (noting that for a development concerning a federal lawsuit that has been filed by one of the Oregon teachers who was
traumatized during the unannounced drill has filed a federal lawsuit).