Opinion: Lockdown drills are a sign of the times

Julia Hebrok, Staff Writer

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As 2018 comes to a close, the tally for deaths by mass shooting so far this year has reached 417. On the first day of October, two people were injured and two were killed in a shooting in Chicago. As mass shootings have become more prevalent in American society, so have lockdown drills in American schools. We have seen this at NDB, with some lockdown drills inciting panic due to initial fear that there is an actual active shooter on campus.

Safety drills have long been practiced across various institutions to ensure disaster preparation. While they can vary depending on the area, schools are usually required to have a certain amount of safety drills yearly. Currently, California has legislation that requires all K-12 schools to have a disaster preparedness plan to deal with any natural disasters such as earthquakes as well as issues with school violence. Bill SB-1203 outlines the requirements for schools in regards to lockdown procedures and has been updated multiple times over the past year to be more specific.

However, this type of school safety requirement has only gotten stricter in the wake of such school shootings as Columbine, Sandy Hook, and Parkland. Young Americans consider this a part of their childhood that now occurs with increasing frequency, certainly shedding light on a dark side of America’s culture that has affected everyone. While some of the first lockdown drills on the NDB campus caused mass panic, now they are treated as a normal part of high school life.

Kids as young as kindergarten and preschool now practice how to act in a school shooting, and teachers have to make peace with the fact that they may have to die in order to protect their students. There is no reason that a teacher or student should have to worry about dying in a place that is designed to foster learning and safety. After one of the first lockdown drills that we had at NDB last year, one of my teachers teared up as she expressed to us how sad it made her that we live in a generation where we constantly have to think about the safest place to hide and protect ourselves during a school shooting.

The ubiquity of lockdown drills has exposed deep rooted issues that Americans have neglected to deal with. Instead of implementing more safety and lockdown drills, we as Americans need to address the root of the problem, which is gun control. Whether you interpret the 2nd Amendment as something addressing militias in the 1700s or feel that it is a broad protection of gun rights for all Americans, I think we can all agree that mass shootings will not go away until we change how people obtain guns and what guns they have access to.

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