ALBANY, N.Y. (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY) -Back in 2016, a bill was signed into law that required at least four lockdown drills in New York state schools. Members of the New York Chapter of Moms Demand Action, such as Sheffali Welch, view the number of drills that children and teachers are set to have in a school year as too many.
Sheffali says drills have been connected to problems faced by school communities when it comes to mental health. “Lockdown drills have shown to increase anxiety and depression in children of all ages, from elementary school all the way up to high school, by significant double digits,” stated Welch.
Another concern shared was over kids not understanding the difference between a drill and an actual threat. One father explained how his child came home thinking he was in danger.
“Well, there’s a bad guy trying to come into the school, trying to get into our room. He came up to me saying this because he didn’t understand that that was a drill,” described Marco of Moms Demand Action.
Before and while drills are happening, Welch argues parents should have contact from the schools to prepare their kids with open conversations. “Allow greater flexibility to parents, to manage this with their children by allowing opt-out and allowing parental notification,” explained Welch.
Assemblywoman, Jo Anne Simon, sees checking in after a drill with students as a way to prevent trauma from happening. “Talking to them later, would’ve changed that one child who didn’t tell his mother for a year because he though he almost died,” said Simon.
Parents hope the bill is acted on by both parties of government. The bill has yet to be introduced in the Senate and Assembly.