After an unannounced lockdown drill at Middletown High School in mid-April, questions about how safety drills are handled in local schools revealed the fine line school leaders walk between traumatizing students and preparing them for this reality.

Unannounced drills to prepare for active shooters are becoming increasingly common as schools have been the scene of high-profile shootings, such as the 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that left 17 people dead.

Several schools across the country have made national news for mishandling such drills. For example, teachers in Evansville, Indiana, were taken into a room and shot “execution-style” with pellet guns and, in Missouri, students were outfitted with fake blood for one simulation.

This week, Frederick Uncut producers Heather Mongilio and Wyatt Massey discuss how Frederick County Public Schools handles unannounced drills.

Later, two students in the county join to talk about their experiences doing the drills and how it affects the student body. Laurelle Maubert, a 15-year-old at Saint James School, said safety drills for violent threats are now a common school experience.

“Unfortunately, we do live in this world where active shooter drills have become routine, just like prom or football games,” she said. “And that’s just sort of the society we live in. Unfortunately, until real action is taken on the national level, schools all over the country will have to do them.”

Navian Scarlett, a 17-year-old senior at Frederick High School, said the drills can be traumatizing even when students know it is a drill.

“It really weighed down on me, because I was standing next to my friends [and] I thought about what if it was real?” Scarlett said. “What would I do? What if I end up being one of the people who had to protect someone? Where would I go?”

A new episode of Frederick Uncut comes out every Tuesday.

Podcasts are posted on www.fnppodcasts.com and are available via iTunes, Google Play and other podcast apps.

— From staff reports

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