Ever since the deadly attacks at Columbine, schools have focused their emergency preparedness attention to active shooters. Those events changed the way we deal with active shooters – read how. With the Sandy Hook incident, just about every school in the United States is gearing up and training their staff and students in the active shooter scenario. And that’s a good thing.
Most schools will go through a natural progression with their emergency planning – starting off with a few basic trainings, workshops and seminars on the emergency operations plan, running tabletop exercises, then conducting a few drills, then a functional exercise and finally conducting the full-scale exercise. The better you get at your drills the more involved and realistic you want them to be. And that is where the problem comes in.
The full-scale exercise is a massive undertaking and involves various agencies and jurisdictions. It is designed to teach various disciplines how to deal with various issues they will encounter on the scene. These are some of the best learning experiences you can encounter. So, why don’t the Police want to participate in active shooter drills?
Why The Police Won’t Help
Police departments have started receiving lawsuits from students who participated in moulage as part of the active shooter drill. Somehow playing the victim in these active shooter drills is causing students to suffer mentally. While students may play video games such as Call of Duty ®, Halo ®, Gears of War ®, Battlefield ®, Assassin’s Creed ® and many others, somehow participating in a drill is too much for them to handle. And their response is “here’s my lawsuit.”
Just like the rest of the world, police departments are under considerable financial constraints and any lawsuit is simply not a good use of resources. But instead of looking for solutions, many police departments are simply telling schools that they cannot run the active shooter drills at their school sites. And that’s a blow to both the school and the police department. No one gets a chance to learn from a great exercise.
If there is answer to this it may be a simpler than ever imagined. Just as schools require permission slips (legal releases) to go on field trip, the day has arrived that schools and police departments should ask for students participating in moulage to have their parents sign a permission slip. The permission slip won’t prevent all lawsuits, but it will certainly provide one more hurdle to jump over before select parents think they can hit pay-dirt.