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New York Bill Seeks to Make Lockdown Drills Less Traumatic for Students

Lawmakers and parent activists say that requiring four drills a year is excessive.

The Trace | By Jennifer Mascia | April 27, 2023

Amid mounting criticism of active shooter drills in schools as ineffective and often traumatic, New York lawmakers are taking steps to reduce their frequency.

A bill introduced in the state legislature on April 26 would limit the number of mandatory lockdown drills to one per year, down from the four that are currently required. The measure would also require schools to notify families a week in advance of a lockdown drill and give them the option to opt out.

“We’re basically normalizing a reality in which kids go to school and expect to be slaughtered,” the bill’s sponsor, state Senator Andrew Gounardes, told The Trace. “It’s really burdensome and traumatizing for kids. And it’s ineffective.”

New York is one of 42 states that require public schools to conduct at least one lockdown or shelter-in-place drill for students during the school year, according to an analysis of state laws and policies published by The Trace and Scary Mommy last fall, and used by activists who pushed for fewer drills.


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