NJ senator addresses impact of active shooter drills on students' mental health

LINDEN, New Jersey (WABC) -- A New Jersey state senator, worried about young students' mental health, hopes to make active shooter drills as easy on them as possible.

"It is sad our kids have to worry about someone coming into their school with a gun and killing them," New Jersey State Senator Loretta Weinberg said.

Weinberg wants to make sure, in a tough year, that young children suffer as little mental anguish as possible when they go through active shooter drills at school.

She has written a bill to spell out how to conduct them.

"On the day schools plan a drill that it is explained this is a drill it is not really something happening particularly with young children," Weinberg said.

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She is most worried about children in kindergarten through sixth grade.

David Walker is a principal at School 10 in Linden, and also happens to be the district school safety specialist.

He likes Weinberg's ideas and explains right now, kids don't know when the drills are happening, they are not always "told" it is a drill and parents are not necessarily encouraged to talk to kids before and after.

His elementary school has been conducting active shooter drills every month since October. They have had in-person learning for most of the year.

When asked if students have had a negative reaction to the drills, Walker says there is some anxiety, but they do their best to minimize it.



Senator Weinberg says worrying about her own grandchildren helped craft the bill.

"It kind of brought it home to me that this is an added pressure on our youngsters," she said.

There is broad support for the bill and she hopes to get the green light by the end of June.

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