March For Our Lives, the anti-gun violence organization started in 2018 by survivors of the Parkland school shooting, released a harrowing video this week, giving the internet a chilling look into the survival skills our children are forced to learn in case of an active shooter.
It’s shedding light on the growing need for lockdown drills across America.
“If there were an active shooter, you’d all be dead,” a young girl named Kayleigh, informs a group of adults gathered for an all-company training.
Kayleigh, who is introduced to the group as an “expert” in active shooter drills, explains the do’s and don’ts of a lockdown.
“When you talk out loud, the shooter can tell where you are and where you’re hiding,” she continues. “Sometimes we play the game ‘who can stay quietest the longest’ so we all remember.”
The video, called “Generation Lockdown” is part of a greater effort to support the passage of Senate Resolution 42, the Background Check Expansion Act. The belief is that the law would close dangerous loopholes in gun sales, and make it so that our children can spend less time practicing how to stay ALIVE while at school.
“You can try and protect your friends by pushing the tables and chairs against the door,” Kayleigh explains. “You also have to put a piece of paper over the door window so they can’t see in. And you can’t cry. It gives away your position and your hiding spot.”
The more insight Kayleigh gives to just how expert-level she is when it comes to active shooter drills, the more uncomfortable this group of adults becomes. Some can be seen crying, while others appear utterly flabbergasted at the survival training this fourth grader has been taught. Not out of desire to learn, but out of sheer NEED to know.
Kayleigh explains the lockdown procedures for when you’re in the bathroom, and advises listening for things that may be able to help the police — that is, if you survive the “bang, bang, bang” noises coming from the other side of the door.
“If the shooter comes into the room, screaming won’t do anything,” she says flatly. “You have to try and fight back.”
You might be thinking Kayleigh must live somewhere dangerous — where there are active shooters or school shooting threats all the time. But you would be wrong. Kayleigh is just one student out of the 95 percent of public school children across the United States who are forced to practice active shooter drills on a regular basis.
And in more cases than not, the survival training has had to be put into real-life practice, as schools continue to become a growing threat to the safety of our children.
Kayleigh ends her crash-course training session with a song she learned at school to help her and her classmates remember all of the life and death steps they have to take if and when there is an active shooter.
“Our teacher used to sing a song to make it easy to remember. ‘Lockdown lockdown let’s all hide. Lock the doors and stay inside. Crouch on down. Don’t make a sound. And don’t cry or you’ll be found.’”
Growing up in Colorado, I was used to everything from fire drills to tornado drills. It was always something that could happen, but the weight of a fire drill was nothing compared to an active shooter drill. If anything, it was a way to waste 30 minutes of teaching time and get us that much closer to lunch.
But as I advanced in school, active shooter drills became more and more of a reality for us. After all, Columbine High School was just a 15-minute drive from my high school, and the memory of that massacre alone was enough to keep school officials on their toes.
On the anniversary of Columbine my [ninth] grade year, there was a bomb threat at a neighboring school in our district — just four miles away. We were put on lockdown for the majority of the afternoon, and after that, drills like this became more regular.
The school administration would come on the intercom and announce the lockdown drill. Teachers would have to turn off the lights, put paper over the door, and crouch all of us students in the safest corner of the room.
I remember always praying that I wasn’t in a classroom with a main level window.
But y’all, I was in my teens then. There are kids entering elementary school right now who will be experts in active shooter situations before the age of 10.
What’s worse is the thought of how many of these school shootings are executed by students. So as our kids are learning how to protect themselves from an active shooter, the active shooter could one day become their peer who knows all of the same drills.
March for Our Lives is working to change that. You can learn more about their efforts against gun violence here.