Don O’Neill ‘grateful’ preschoolers put through active shooter drills

Jun 22, 2016, 10:25 AM

There’s no age limit on the threat of active shooters. And while some parents are mortified at children needing to concern themselves with mass shooting preparation, KIRO Radio’s Don O’Neill says he’s “grateful” for the practice his son received at school.

Related: Club owners, bouncers attend active-shooter training ahead of Seattle Pride weekend

A photo of a 3-year-old Michigan girl standing on a toilet recently went viral after the girl’s mother explained the child’s rationale. After initially thinking her mischievous daughter was goofing around, the mother broke down after realizing the child was practicing the lockdown drill for being trapped in a bathroom, as taught to her at preschool.

O’Neill said he was contacted by his son’s preschool in 2014 about putting the kids through an active shooter exercise. And he thought the idea was “ridiculous.”

That is until he watched what they did.

“What they do is very effective,” O’Neill said. “And I will tell you this, there is nothing wrong with being a moving target, because if you’ve ever been to a range somewhere, moving targets are really hard to hit. And I think that can be better than to barricade yourself somewhere.”

It was about three months later when O’Neill received a phone notification that his son’s school was locked down because of an active shooter at Seattle Pacific University. One person was killed and two were injured during that shooting.

“That was five buildings away from where my son was going to school at the time,” O’Neill said. “I was so grateful at that time because they didn’t know if he was in custody or not, I was so grateful that they’d actually gone through that exercise.”

O’Neill said he understood how the Michigan mother would be upset at seeing her daughter practicing for a shooter instead of playing, and that these important lessons should be taught carefully.

“I would be alarmed if you’re the mother and they’re explaining to a 3-year-old child about an active shooter,” O’Neill said. “I remember when I was very young and we would do earthquake and tornado drills, etc. Your teachers would let you know as much as you needed to know and then as you got older in the first, second and third grade, you figure out what you were doing when younger. You don’t need to give kids that much information.”

Ron and Don

KIRO Newsradio Newsdesk

Ron and Don’s last show on KIRO Radio

Last night was Ron and Don’s last show on KIRO Radio.
4 years ago
Kelly Herzberg in her natural habitat. (Photo by Rachel Belle)...
Rachel Belle

In Seattle, a personal shopper and stylist who only shops at thrift stores

If you think you can't afford a personal stylist, head to the thrift store with Sweet Kelly Anne Styling's Kelly Herzberg who will pull hundreds of pieces for you to try on.
4 years ago
Viaduct waterfront...
Ron Upshaw

What do we do with the waterfront after the viaduct is gone?

After the viaduct is taken down, we'll be left with a choice: What do we do with one of the most beautiful waterfronts in the country?
4 years ago
Ron Upshaw

Shower Thoughts: Ichiro can give Mariners fans something to root for

Rumor has it that Ichiro might make a comeback next year, and I for one welcome it.
4 years ago
Border wall...
Ron Upshaw

Trying to figure out why people want Trump’s border wall

A little over 40 percent of Americans now support the idea of a border wall, but what is it about it that seems so attractive?
4 years ago
Dan McCartney, Pierce County Sheriff...
Don O'Neill

Why you could hear kids’ voices on Pierce County Sheriff radios Monday night

Sometimes, "gone but not forgotten" isn't always how slain officers are remembered. But in Pierce County, a special effort is being made to commemorate a fallen deputy.
4 years ago

Sponsored Articles

SHIBA volunteer...

Volunteer to help people understand their Medicare options!

If you’re retired or getting ready to retire and looking for new ways to stay active, becoming a SHIBA volunteer could be for you!
safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Don O’Neill ‘grateful’ preschoolers put through active shooter drills