DENVER — Colorado Congresswoman Brittany Pettersen introduced a bipartisan bill that aims to study the mental health effects of active shooter drills and lockdowns on students, teachers, parents, and school staff. The goal is to determine best practices surrounding the drills and standardize those throughout the country.
The School Safety Drill Research Act is a bipartisan piece of legislation that would study a number of things, including different kinds of drills and how they may impact students of different ages and backgrounds.
“This is really about sharing best practices, making sure we're protecting our kids, and looking at the mental health effects of these drills in the long term," Congresswoman Pettersen said. “When they're at school, the place that they're supposed to feel safe, that these drills are done in a way that does not traumatize them and hurt their mental health."
Pettersen's office reports there are 40 states that have a quota for how many lockdown drills must be completed in a year.
Norah Krause will be a sophomore at East High School in the fall. During her first year as a freshman, she experienced a handful of lockdowns.
“I wouldn't say that my baseline is anxiety. It's just like, there's definitely a lot of fear in the building," explained Krause, who's a member of Students Demand Action. “You hear the alarm and your heart is going to skip a beat. You're scared.”
Congresswoman Pettersen said in order for this bill to become law, it needs to be made a priority in the House of Representatives, and then be taken up in the Senate. She said that's hard to do, even with bipartisan support, but she plans to fight for the legislation.