Statement of Purpose Lockdown or active shooters have become a regular part of youths’ school experience, but little research has been done on how these drills affect schools both in terms of preparedness for incidents and effects on the wellbeing of students. We seek to examine correlates of lockdown drill perceptions among a sample of middle school youth.
Methods/Approach As part of a school safety program evaluation, we asked a sample of 6th and 7th grade students a series of questions about lockdown drills in their school. We calculated descriptive statistics to examine the distribution of responses to each item. We plan to conduct further analyses to explore potential correlates of lockdown drill perceptions including victimization, aggressive behavior, rejection sensitivity, depressive symptoms, and demographics.
Results Nearly 90% of participants agreed that lockdown drills are important to keep students safe. 45% believed that their peers took the drills seriously and 88% believed that teachers took the drills seriously. 37% of students reported that lockdown drills scared them. 80% of students felt confident that they knew where to go to stay safe in an active shooter emergency. 71% of students believed that lockdown drills made their school more safe.
Conclusions Overall students had positive perceptions of lockdown drills and their preparedness for an active shooter incident. It is noteworthy that over a third of the sample felt scared by lockdown drills.
Significance and Contributions to Injury and Violence Prevention Science Lockdown drills are conducted to mitigate potential harm in an active shooter event but their effects on reducing or preventing incidents and on student experiences have not been well established. Lockdown drill procedures and components can vary by school district and more research is needed on the implications of different components.
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