Parents Fear of Children Being Traumatized
Illinois Public Media
(September 10, 2019)
A Champaign Illinois school district is allowing students to be excused from school to avoid experiencing “active shooter drills” held on school grounds.
“The Champaign Unit 4 Board of Education clarified how parents can opt their students out of active shooter drills” at a September 9 meeting, Illinois Public Media reports.
A new state law requires students participate in at least one active shooter drill during the first 90 days of the school year. The law allows school staff to exempt certain students from the drill at their discretion.
Unit 4 board members opted to take the advice of the district’s legal counsel, and allow parents to take their children out of school during the drills, exempt students who are already exempted from fire and tornado drills, and provide accommodations for students with individualized education plans.
Parents at the meeting expressed concerns that the drills could traumatize both students and staff. Dianne Gordon, a Unit 4 parent, told board members that her seven-year-old daughter was “hysterical” following a hard lockdown drill at her elementary school last year.
Orlando Thomas, director of achievement and student services at Unit 4, explained that parents would be informed ahead of time when the drills would occur at each school building.
“I think we’ve done a lot to try to help the adults ease their reservation about the training,” Thomas said.