Free-Range Kids

School Says Students Need to Hear What Madman's Gunfire Sounds Like

Chillingly fatalistic.

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Sandy Hook
Wikimedia Commons

This local news announcement about a Champion, Ohio, school's upcoming shooting drill makes an insane idea—shooting blanks in the hallways of a middle and high school—sound almost festive:

The sounds of gunfire will ring through the halls of two Champion school buildings this afternoon.

Ah, the ringing sound of gunfire! Sort of like caroling except… chillingly fatalistic and completely at odds with the fact that school shootings, though horrific, remain exceedingly rare. Kids are safer than ever before, and schools are just about the safest environments for them.

Even so, many schools remain fascinated with the idea of holding practice shooting drills, as if learning to deal with an armed intruder is some essential rite of passage for kids.

But do these events really need a soundtrack to seem more real? From WFMJ:

According to a letter sent home to parents of students, police will be firing blanks from a gun at the high school and middle school so students can hear what gunshots sound like.

The exercise is part of A.L.I.C.E. training. A.L.I.C.E. stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate.

(Side note: Does anyone, especially in a panic, remember what an obscure acronym stands for?)

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The blanks will be fired in hallways or the office. The letter says that they will not be fired in spaces containing students. Elementary school students will also take part in the drill, but gunshots will not be fired, according to school superintendent Pamela Hood.

Champion School personnel have already received A.L.I.C.E. training from Training Consultants Inc., of Hubbard.

An A.L.I.C.E. drill will be conducted twice every school year to practice methods to deal with a dangerous intruder in a school building.

Ah, but how to deal with a dangerous idea intruding into a school building—the idea that students are in constant danger from madmen, but twice-a-year training with live, loud, fake ammo will keep them safe?