AUSTIN, Texas — After Britt Kelly’s son participated in a lockdown drill two years ago in his Lamar, Texas, kindergarten class, he had nightmares and wet his bed. Now 8, he can sleep only with a light on.
In August, Mary Jackson’s daughter, a kindergartner in Leander, asked her mom to put a “special lock” on her bedroom door to “keep bad adults out” in the wake of a separate lockdown drill.
Clay Giampaolo, a high school senior with special needs, said that after drills at his school in Plano, he goes to the special education room to “calm down.”
As the nation reevaluates its gun laws, training for violent threats has become a grisly yet commonplace reality in K-12 schools. More than 40 states require schools to prepare students to react when a campus comes under attack. Nearly every student in America experiences at least one or more of these drills a year, even though their effectiveness has been hotly debated by state legislators, school staffers, safety experts, and parents.
About 98% of public schools taught students lockdown procedures before the pandemic, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. The reasons for them are clear: The 2020-21 school year saw 93 school shootings with casualties, the highest number in two decades, according to the NCES. While school shootings are rare, they have devastating consequences.
But the preparations for these events also can come with a price. “The literal trauma caused j …