CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A deadly mass shooting at a Southern California high school is once again raising questions in the Charlotte region about the safety of children in school.
In particular, psychological experts are concerned about the effectiveness of highly-realistic active shooter drills in schools.
While she acknowledged more research needs to be done, Winthrop University Professor Melissa Reeves said early evidence indicates high-sensory active shooter drills in schools can lead to trauma for students, staff, and teachers.
"We don't need to light a fire to practice fire drills," Reeves said. "Just like when we teach stranger danger, we don't put kids on a street corner and have someone grab them and scare them."
Reeves said active shooter training is necessary, but there are better ways to teach students and staff how to react.
"We don't need to impose trauma to teach people to know what to do," Reeves said. "We know that we can be very effective in teaching response protocols by doing good discussions and then walking them through what to do."
She said when school systems plan for drills, they need to consult with teachers, administrators, law enforcement, parents and school counselors.