WASHINGTON—In response to recent reports of teachers being led into a room, told to crouch down, and shot with projectile pellets during an active shooter drill at an elementary school in Indiana, American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten issued the following statement:
“What happened recently in Indiana was inhumane and abusive, and should never happen again. It leaves many educators—some of whom have formed human shields to protect their students from gun violence—wondering what they’ll be asked to do next to keep classrooms safe until elected officials put laws in place to actually help curb gun violence in America. This entire experience provides a stark contrast to New Zealand where, just last week, legislators banned assault rifles after the massacre at two mosques in Christchurch.
“Active shooter drills are necessary, but this episode makes it obvious that clear safety protocols developed in partnership between law enforcement and the school community are necessary, much like what was modeled by the safety committee in Newtown, Conn., after the shooting at Sandy Hook. And while training on lockout procedures, evacuation procedures and emergency medical response is critical to giving educators the tools they need to protect their students, we must also rely on the intervention strategies that we know really work: red-flag laws that allow adults to intervene when they see warning signs, stronger background checks so guns don’t wind up in the hands of the wrong people, plus meaningful threat assessments and upgrades to school security, including interior door locks that can actually stop a shooter from entering.
“Rather than dealing with the underlying issues that make people less safe in the first place, drills like those used in Indiana just put more people at risk.”