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Brady Applauds Passage of Bill to Improve Active Shooter Drills, Account for Children’s Mental Well-Being in New Jersey

Washington, D.C., December 22, 2021 - Today, Brady applauds the New Jersey Legislature for passing Assembly Bill 5727/Senate Bill 3726, a bill that prioritizes the well-being and mental health of New Jersey’s children by creating reasonable processes and procedures for active shooter drills. This bill is a historic step towards creating such drills that prioritize students’ mental health while properly preparing them for possible instances of gun violence at school.

Brady President Kris Brown shared:

“The New Jersey legislature has taken a historic step towards creating proper procedures for schools to conduct active shooter drills. In recent years, these drills have taken on increased prominence while also in many instances severely harming students and creating tremendous anxiety. This bill is a critical step to stop that harm and the first such state bill in the country. Brady thanks the New Jersey legislature for taking this action and reiterates the need for elected officials at all levels of government to take action to prevent gun violence. We look forward to a day when our schools are not targets and our children do not fear for their lives while learning. We need action to realize that reality.”

Nancy Kislin, psychotherapist, author of LOCKDOWN: Talking To Your Kids About School Violence, and the founder of Just Call It A Drill, a non-profit dedicated to the mental, emotional and physical health of children related to school security exercises, shared:

“Research shows us that we can create effective drills to prepare schools for active shooter situations without causing students undue stress. Ensuring that children understand and take active shooter drills seriously does not require traumatizing them. In recent years, students have been forced to endure drills that simulate active shooter situations, including the use of props like fake blood and role play where students are asked to physically intervene against a fake shooter. This is damaging to our children, and New Jersey is right to take this important step to stop these practices and create effective drills that are clear and age-appropriate. I am grateful to the New Jersey legislature for taking this important step and bringing attention to the mental health and well-being of the state’s children.”

About AB 5727/SB 3726:

Introduced by Reps. Lampitt, Greenwald, and Caputo, AB 5727 ensures that schools and staff have access to important research and best practices to create trauma-informed practices regarding lock down and active shooter drills to alleviate stress, fear and anxiety caused by such exercises. This includes requiring that schools conduct lockdown drills that:

  • do not expose students to content or imaging that is not developmentally or age-appropriate;

  • are paired with trauma-informed approaches to address any student inquiries or concerns which may arise as a result of a school security drill;

  • do not include the use of fake blood, real or prop firearms, or the simulations of gun shots, explosions, or other sounds or visuals that may induce panic or a traumatic response from a student or school district employee;

  • do require a student to role play as a victim, but may include first aid training in which students participate;

  • are accessible to students with disabilities and mental health conditions, and provides all necessary accommodations for these students.

Importantly, this bill also requires that schools include clear, developmentally and age-appropriate messaging to students and staff that the exercise is a drill and that no current danger exists at the conclusion of the drill. It likewise requires that the school district provide written notification to the parent or guardian of a student enrolled in the district following completion of a school security drill and annually track data on such measures and report the data to the commissioner.

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Brady has one powerful mission — to unite all Americans against gun violence. We work across Congress, the courts, and our communities with over 90 grassroots chapters, bringing together young and old, red and blue, and every shade of color to find common ground in common sense. In the spirit of our namesakes Jim and Sarah Brady, we have fought for over 45 years to take action, not sides, and we will not stop until this epidemic ends. It’s in our hands.


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