What kind of feedback have you gotten from students?
We get thumbs up, students telling us they’re okay. We work with students from pre-K all the way up to college, and the general tone I have observed is that they are taking this very seriously. They’re calm, and they ask good questions. I have not in four years been told that parents are upset or anyone had adverse reactions. We were in several schools the day after Oxford [the November 2021 mass shooting at a suburban Michigan high school]. While everyone was dealing with the heightened anxiety of that shooting, we still did what we needed to do and we were able to use that as a valuable learning opportunity.
When we surveyed students afterward, we found their anxiety is lower and their well-being is higher compared to before the drill. And we have found that students are not more fearful and don’t perceive that there’s a greater risk of shooting.
Were there any negative findings?
We did find that students felt more prepared but less safe afterward, and we attribute that idea to protection motivation theory. In order to engage in protective behavior, students have to think there is some type of a risk — otherwise, they won’t do anything. In other districts, students may say when a drill is announced, they go into a corner and hang out with their friends. But if they are taking the drill seriously, they will feel far more prepared to deal with whatever will come their way.