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Crime News

Panic Buttons, Real Gun Safety Drills, Arming Teachers: Are These Strategies A Reasonable Way To Stop School Shootings?

From active fire drills to lockdown training, schools are searching for solutions after Parkland.

By Sowmya Krishnamurthy

A month after a mass shooter broke out at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, schools around the country are dealing with aftermath of what to do next. On March 14, thousands of students are planning a national school walk out to remember the 17 people who lost their lives in the shooting. While politicians continue to argue over safety and gun control measures, some schools are taking what they believe to be preventative measures. 

From active shooter drills to installing a panic button, here's how schools are reacting to the Parkland shooting.

Panic Button

In New Jersey, lawmakers are looking over a law that would install panic alarms and red emergency lights in schools. Known as Alyssa's Law, the legislation was renamed to honor Alyssa Alhadeff, a former New Jersey student who died in Parkland, reports North Jersey.com.

“No family should ever have to endure the pain and grief that we are going through,” the slain student's family wrote in the statement to the state's education committee. “It is our hope that Alyssa’s Law can help avoid another tragedy from happening by increasing school security and ensuring an immediate response from law enforcement and first responders.

The bill was initially proposed following the shooting at Newton, Connecticut but it was vetoed (twice) by Gov. Chris Christie.

Real Gunfire Drills

In a mass shooting, panic is a natural response. East High School in Anchorage, Alaska is using the sound of real gunfire to prepare students for shootings. The school's resource officer shoots blanks while walking through the hallways, as CNN reports. The sound prompts students to take cover under tables and desks and to barricade themselves inside their classrooms.

Graphic Columbine Video


One of the earliest school shootings in modern memory was the shooting in Columbine, Colorado in 1999. Two students killed 12 others and one teacher and then turned the guns on themselves at the high school (seen above). At Laurel High School in Maryland, teachers were made to watch raw video footage from the mass shooting, as NBC Washington reports. The viewing was part of what's being called "lockdown training." Being exposed to the security video as well as 911 calls from the incident freaked out some teachers. 

"There were faculty members that got up and left in the middle of the video showing because they were crying. It was so, so upsetting," one teacher, who spoke anonymously, said.

Arming Teachers


What would happen if teachers were armed inside the schools? Donald Trump shared his proposal of what to do with school safety this week, and included the option of teachers to be armed. The Trump administration wants to help schools provide teachers with "rigorous" firearms training, a White House official said, according to the Los Angeles Times.

"If schools are mandated to be gun free zones, violence and danger are given an open invitation to enter. Almost all school shootings are in gun free zones. Cowards will only go where there is no deterrent!," tweeted Trump, explaining his rationale for arming teachers.

[Photo: Getty Images]

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