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State Education Department considers reforming lockdown drill mandates

  • / Updated:
  • Staff Report 

The New York State Education Department is currently in talks with various stakeholders, including school superintendents and public safety officials, to review the necessity of the current four mandated school lockdown and active shooter drills per year. A proposed bill, already passed by state senators, suggests reducing these drills to one annually and allowing parents to opt their children out, with the condition of notifying parents at least a week in advance.

Assembly Education Committee chair, Michael Benedetto, expressed the need for comprehensive feedback from the education community before moving forward with the legislation. This reform aims to address concerns over the psychological impact these drills may have on students, including incidents where drills have led to traumatic experiences for children.

The reform initiative underscores a growing debate over the balance between preparing students for emergencies and protecting their mental health. New York’s current policy stands out nationally, with most states requiring fewer drills. The proposed changes advocate for a more considerate approach to emergency preparedness in schools, aiming to safeguard not just the physical but also the emotional well-being of students and staff.