Washington enacts limits on how schools can conduct active shooter drills

Mar 17, 2022, 2:29 PM | Updated: Mar 18, 2022, 7:03 am

Active shooter drill...

Police on campus during an active shooting lockdown drill. (Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

A bill limiting the way schools can conduct active shooter lockdown drills was signed into law on Thursday by Gov. Jay Inslee.

High-capacity magazine ban headlines series of victories for state gun safety advocates

HB 1941 makes it so that schools in Washington cannot conduct drills involving “live simulations or reenactments of active shooter scenarios that are not trauma-informed and age and developmentally appropriate.” That means that students, teachers, and school staff must be alerted to any drills related to school shooting safety beforehand, and that drills cannot directly mimic the presence of a shooter on school grounds, instead focusing on basic lockdown procedures.

The bill’s sponsor, state Rep. Amy Walen, points to research indicating that “active shooter drills increase depression, anxiety, and fear of death for children and parents, and can cause stress and trauma to students and staff.”

“There is no empirical research supporting the benefits of school-based armed assailant drills with a sensorial experience, but typical lockdown drills without a sensorial experience do have benefits,” reads a summary of testimony from Walen and Lake Washington School District psychologist Kathryn Salveson.

According to data compiled by gun safety nonprofit Everytown Research & Policy and the Georgia Institute of Technology, over 95% of schools in the United States implement some form of active shooter drills, despite school shootings “accounting for less than 1% of the more than 40,000 annual U.S. gun deaths.”

In analysis of social media conversations spanning over 100 K-12 schools, Everytown and Georgia Tech found that “active shooter drills are associated with increases in depression (39%), stress and anxiety (42%), and psychological health problems (23%).”

Washington state House passes bill banning open carry at protests

“The results were sobering,” the study notes.

Walen further argues that while school shootings are traumatizing for students, they are also “rare,” and as such, “we should probably not prepare our children to be anxious and afraid at schools.”

HB 1941 was approved in the Legislature in early March with bipartisan support in both the state House and Senate.

Local News

molly moon's chop...

Sam Campbell

Molly Moon’s suing City of Seattle over losses from CHOP

Local ice cream maker Molly Moon's is suing the City of Seattle for losses it claims came from CHOP in the summer of 2020.

21 hours ago

UW graduation traffic...

Nate Connors

Expect traffic in U-District for UW graduation ceremony Saturday

Expect heavy traffic on State Route 520 near Montlake, I-5 towards 520, and surface streets around Husky Stadium for UW graduation.

21 hours ago

carbon auction...

Frank Sumrall

WA’s second carbon auction nets $500M, gas prices could jump

Washington held its second carbon emission auction to allow gas and oil companies to bid for a limited amount of carbon emission allowances.

21 hours ago

kate scott play-by-play seahawks...

Frank Sumrall

Kate Scott to call TV play-by-play for Seattle Seahawks preseason

Kate Scott has officially joined the Seahawks' booth as the team's newest play-by-play announcer for the preseason, replacing Curt Menefee.

21 hours ago

flowers alcohol license...

Frank Sumrall

U-District bar ‘Flowers’ loses alcohol license after serving minors

Flowers in Seattle's University District can no longer serve alcohol after its liquor license was suspended.

21 hours ago

Disney World...

Heather Bosch

Disney brings ‘Pride’ to Seattle Men’s Chorus

Disney has teamed up with the Seattle Men's Chorus for a Pride concert at Seattle's Paramount Theater this weekend.

21 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Education families...

Education that meets the needs of students, families

Washington Virtual Academies (WAVA) is a program of Omak School District that is a full-time online public school for students in grades K-12.

Emergency preparedness...

Emergency planning for the worst-case scenario

What would you do if you woke up in the middle of the night and heard an intruder in your kitchen? West Coast Armory North can help.

Innovative Education...

The Power of an Innovative Education

Parents and students in Washington state have the power to reimagine the K-12 educational experience through Insight School of Washington.

Medicare fraud...

If you’re on Medicare, you can help stop fraud!

Fraud costs Medicare an estimated $60 billion each year and ultimately raises the cost of health care for everyone.

Men's Health Month...

Men’s Health Month: Why It’s Important to Speak About Your Health

June is Men’s Health Month, with the goal to raise awareness about men’s health and to encourage men to speak about their health.

Internet Washington...

Major Internet Upgrade and Expansion Planned This Year in Washington State

Comcast is investing $280 million this year to offer multi-gigabit Internet speeds to more than four million locations.

Washington enacts limits on how schools can conduct active shooter drills