Under Illinois law, public schools are required to have at least three fire drills every school year. Learning fire evacuation is an important skill, but it is not the skill of utmost importance.
While fire drills are required three times, school shooting drills are required once, and there is a concerning lack of thought behind this that must be addressed.
Overall there have been 37 school shootings in America in 2022. 110 students and staff were either dead or injured as a result.
The fact that school shootings are such an epidemic is an issue in and of itself, a topic that could spark many arguments.
But this isn’t about preventing shootings, or about gun control, this is about preparing students to protect themselves, which we are not doing well enough.
Besides preparing students for the worst in school, shooting drills can be helpful outside of school.
We are living in a society of gun violence, meaning a shooting can happen anywhere at any time.
Not only are drills preparing for school, but they are also preparing for events that could take place in any public place.
There were almost 700 mass shootings in 2021. Guns are one of the leading causes of death in America, averaging 40,000 deaths per year.
We are not preparing for the biggest issue at hand.
While fire could be a problem, they are far less likely to result in fatalities than an active shooter situation. In fact, there have been next to no fatalities as a result of a school fire for a few decades now.
Schools started taking precautions towards keeping students safe by making buildings less flammable and safely constructed. The likelihood of mass death as a result of a school fire is very unlikely.
One difference between a shooting and a fire, someone will always end up injured in a shooting.
Human beings are calculated which is very different in contrast to fires.
Fire is easy to understand, you know where it will spread in correlation to where it started.
So it begs the question, why do schools require so many fire drills, but only one drill for shootings?
It is an error in common sense, to say the least.
School shootings continue to happen all over America, varying in severity but consistent in the fact that they happen multiple times in a single year.
The point is not that the number of fire drills we have should be decreased.
The issue at hand is the number of shooting drills in comparison to fire drills when one clearly is more common than the other.
Students need to be prepared for the absolute worst because we are living in the worst.
No student should fear for their life while inside an environment meant to help them grow and thrive, but there is nothing we can do to stop what is possible.
Every school always thinks, “It will never happen to us,” but that is no guarantee. What we can guarantee is preparation, planning, and understanding.