High school simulates shooter drill — complete with guns shooting blanks. Parents are not happy.

High school simulates shooter drill — complete with guns shooting blanks. Parents are not happy.
A Pennsylvania high school held an active shooter drill on Thursday, complete with the sound of gunshots. Some parents thought the drill might do more harm than good. (Image source: KDKA-TV video screenshot)

A Pennsylvania high school school held an active shooter drill on Thursday to expose the students to the sound of gunfire, according to a report by KDKA-TV.

What are the details?

Bethel Park High School in Bethel Park, Pennsylvania, conducted the drill along with the cooperation and help of school police and other trained law enforcement officials.

The drill took place during an extended third-period class, and simulated an active shooter situation — complete with the firing of blanks to simulate real gunshots.

The principal reportedly sent out a communication to parents notifying them about the drill, and was clear that no guns would be pointed at students — they would simply be able to hear what the sound of gunfire was like for awareness purposes.

A portion of the communication read, “The faculty and staff have been apprised of the situation and over the next few days the students will be shown a PowerPoint in homeroom, providing them with the needed information.”

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the students were encouraged to follow A.L.I.C.E protocol, or “Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate.”

What are people saying?

Nanette Adams, who has a son in the school, told KDKA that this type of drill might do more harm than good.

“Students have been prepared,” Adams said. “Although, I have not been advised about what that preparation consists of. My concern is for students who may have some sort of issue with anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, special needs students.”

Adams added that she had concerns about those living in the area.

“There are homes located nearby, and I have no idea if anyone who does not have a student in the district has been informed that this drill is going to be taking place,” Adams explained. “There’s a lot of unknown variables of what could potentially happen if a homeowner nearby heard shots being fired off.”

Marlene Vavrek, the grandparent of a student at Bethel Park, agreed with Adams and said that the exercise might prove to be more harm than help.

“Even though they were told ahead of time, what will happen — I think kids with any kind of issues will intensify,” Vavrek said.

However, Nicki Sink, a woman whose daughter attends the high school, doesn’t have any issues with the drill.

“Why not give them the tools to be ready for it instead of being worried about a traumatic experience of what could be a traumatic experience?” she asked.