NEPTUNE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Many parents are outraged over active shooter drills and lockdowns at their children’s schools, saying they’re happening without warning.
Those active shooter drills are a standard requirement in schools today, and while many schools send out notices to inform students and their parents, more and more are not.
“We go into our positions for in case there was an active shooter,” freshman Charlize Kepler told CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez.
Kepler, like many other students, says she had no idea the lockdown was only a drill.
“Yeah, it was scary. Because these are the kinds of things that you hear about on TV,” she said.
Students say no one told them it was a mock emergency and they weren’t in any danger until the drill was over.
“It is traumatizing,” Kepler said.
“We’ve done so many drills that it feels like every one is just a drill, so,” student Brabhnoor Singh said.
Singh says he didn’t panic, but his mother was upset the school never told parents about the lockdown, even after it happened.
The assistant superintendent of schools in charge of the safety plan did not return CBS2’s calls.
“It’s scary. Scary as a parent, you know,” parent Manjeet Kaur said.
Watch: How To Talk To Your Children And Prepare For An Active Shooter Emergency —
New Jersey schools are required by law to hold at least one security drill a month. Each school district decides how or when it will notify students and parents about the drills.
CBS2 found there are many high schools that don’t tell students about active shooter drills or lockdowns.
New York City Public Schools say kids are given a heads up.
While it’s not uncommon for high schools to have lockdown drills without warning, some psychologists believe it might cause more harm than good.
“I think the side effect of drills that are completely no one knows about is that we’re going to be increasing anxiety in the schools. I’m not sure that I think it’s going to increase readiness. I think the kids need to know what to do, but that can be discussed calmly,” child psychologist Dr. Jodi Gold said. “Helping them to understand that the school is trying to keep them as safe as possible.”
Kepler suffers from anxiety, but her mom says she’s glad the school didn’t tell them about the drill.
“I support the school and how they handle it,” Beth Kepler said. “I think every moment you should prepare as if it could be real.”
And prepare with the hope that what they’ve learned will never be needed.
Drills are required monthly in New Jersey schools and cover different emergency situations, including sheltering from severe weather. Active shooter lockdowns, though, are required at least twice a year.