Writing in USA Today, criminologist James Alan Fox mulls whether school-shooting drills serve a useful purpose or needlessly frighten students. Countless schools have adopted these simulations, voluntarily or by legislative mandate. The hope is that students and faculty will be sufficiently prepared should some dispirited student or deranged intruder decide to turn the school into a battle zone. But Fox writes that such drills can do more harm than good.
“It is questionable whether children are indeed better prepared by participating in such charades,” he writes. “But the downside is in needlessly scaring impressionable youngsters and reinforcing the notion that they are in constant danger.” Fox concludes, “Obsessing over the unlikely possibility of a school shooting can unfortunately serve to inspire potential copycats and inadvertently increase the chance of tragedy.”