As if growing up in Boston weren’t a horrific enough experience for this generation of young minds, on Thursday the Boston Globe metro desk published a short missive from a parent, Gregory Cohen, whose five-year-old daughter attends a Somerville school.
Over the last decade, the industry that purports to teach children how to not get killed while attending class has ballooned. Companies like ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate) make excellent money coordinating security plans and holding workshops. Individual schools run drills with fake shooters armed with blanks and student volunteers hemorrhaging fake blood from fake head wounds. In nine out of 10 public schools students regularly practice hiding from shooters, barricading classroom doors, and grabbing whatever is handy (a rock, for instance) to stun their assailants. In more than 30 states schools are required to run active shooter drills by law.
What exactly this is doing to kids psychologically we can’t measure yet, but I think it’s fair to say it can’t be good.
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Somerville has come up with an ingenious way to get very young kids to comply with what, to a child, must be incomprehensible. I’d imagine getting toddlers to shut up when you’re running an active shooter drill is quite hard, given that you have to explain an imaginary person with an imaginary assault weapon might be stalking the halls and trying to kill you because he was slighted socially or rejected by a girl.
In the tradition of every other teacher who has tried to impart knowledge on kids regarding something adults have decided they need to know, but that a child’s brain can’t quite grasp, this Somerville school made up a song.
It goes to the tune of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,” in case that wasn’t apparent:
Lockdown, lockdown, Lock the door
Shut the lights off, Say no more
Go behind the desk and hide
Wait until it’s safe inside
Lockdown, Lockdown it’s all done
Now it’s time to have some fun!
A few bad cities over, in Washington, D.C., Betsy DeVos noted earlier this week her School Safety Commission has chosen not to investigate the role of guns in school safety. Rather, as she noted at a Senate hearing when questioned about firearms, “we’re actually studying school safety and how we can ensure our students are safe at school.”