|5. What drills are used to help students or staff respond to emergencies?
While evidence supports the effectiveness of drills and lockdown procedures, accountability and assessment are critical. In a study of one urban school district, most schools met the minimum requirement for number of drills, but almost half neglected to record evacuation times, and drills were not taken seriously nor assessed for improvement. Families should ask about how (and how frequently) schools practice emergency responses and the quality of the practice (e.g., diversifying drills by conducting them during lunch or between classes), as well as what steps staff are taking to continuously improve the process. Researchers caution against practices that are not evidence-based or those that can cause more harm than protection. For example, active shooter simulations have emerged since the Columbine shooting, but these may risk traumatizing students or desensitizing them to violence.