Andrew Yang Proposes Ending School Shooter Drills as Part of Presidential Campaign Platform

Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang proposed ending active shooter drills in U.S. schools, arguing that the trauma and anxiety the process causes far outweigh the likelihood of a real-life shooting.

The 2020 hopeful expressed concern for his son and his classmates Monday in a proposal calling for more awareness from educators about the psychological impact the often-dramatic school shooter drills are having on America's youth. Yang cited a statistic that the likelihood of a public school student being killed by a gunman is "less than 1 in 614 million." Yang criticized several school districts across the country which use theatrical recreations including firing blank rounds at students and using fake blood to imitate a real mass shooting.

"My son's school is holding 4 active shooter drills this year. The only clear impact of these drills is stress, anxiety and confusion on the part of children and families. I would end the drills or make them optional. Let our kids learn the right things," Yang tweeted Monday, linking to a proposal on his campaign website to "End Active Shooter Drills."

"This needs to stop. I'm a parent and I know we all want our children to feel and be safe in the classroom. But, there is no evidence that these active shooter drills proportionally help prepare students for an actual shooter," reads the Yang 2020 website policy proposal.

Yang said the $3 billion being spent each year on school security and active shooter drills should instead be put toward "counselors, nurses and teachers." He further called for a more compassionate approach than the fear-mongering tactic employed by such dramatic drills. Yang said such drills are "terrorizing our children unnecessarily."

His campaign cited several mental health statistics showing teens already have enough problems. Yang noted that 32 percent of teenagers have an anxiety disorder and 22 percent suffer from some type of mental disorder.

According to the Education Department's National Center for Education Statistics, almost every public school in the country—96 percent during the years 2015-2016—conduct some form of a school shooter lockdown drill. An April 2018 Pew Research Center survey found that a majority of U.S. teens fear a shooting could happen at their school.

The survey found black and Hispanic students are more likely to live in fear of a potential deadly shooting at school.

Yang is not the first national figure to call for the end to the active shooter preparation drills. Forbes contributor and professor Evan Gerstmann penned an op-ed in September calling for an immediate end to such drills over mental health concerns.

"The inordinate attention paid to a phenomenon that represents such a tiny proportion of the danger to school kids (a drop in the bucket compared to the danger they face from car accidents for example) can only be justified if one assumes that the psychological impact of these shootings on students is disproportionately great," Gerstmann wrote.

Yang's proposal concluded by demanding lawmakers strengthen gun safety laws and "provide assistance to struggling and troubled classmates."

andrew yang active shooter drills
New York City firefighters drag a wounded actor to safety during an active shooter drill on Kenmare Street on November 22, 2015 in New York City. The drill, in cooperation with the Department of Homeland Security, simulated an active shooter situation at the Bowery subway station Michael Graae/Getty Images