SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Students and school personnel would receive advance notice of planned active shooter drills under legislation introduced by state Rep. Maura Hirschauer, D-Batavia, aimed at preventing psychological impacts from these training simulations.
“It’s scary and heartbreaking that our reality necessitates preparing teachers and young children for how to respond if an attacker barges into their classroom with a gun,” said Hirschauer. “While there’s a need for law enforcement to train for real emergencies that we all hope never occur, drills that are overly realistic can be extremely traumatizing for children. My bill keeps the well-being of students and staff at the heart of school lockdown drills by taking a trauma-informed approach to these situations.”
Hirschauer, a longtime volunteer with Moms Demand Action, is sponsoring House Bill 2400 to address how lockdown drills affect children. The measure specifies that school shooter drills must be age and developmentally appropriate, include school-based mental health professionals and be announced in advance, with an option for parents and guardians to exempt their child from participating. Under current state law, schools and law enforcement agencies are required to conduct a lockdown drill within the first 90 days of the school year.
“We must continue to do everything in our power to protect students from the physical threat of school shootings, but we can’t jeopardize their mental health in the process,” said Hirschauer. “I am committed to removing the harmful impacts of active shooter drills and making sure they’re conducted in a more effective way.”