WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01), along with Congresswomen Brittany Pettersen (CO-07) and Nancy Mace (SC-01) and Congressman Jared Moskowitz (FL-23) introduced a bipartisan bill to address the mental health implications of school lockdown and active shooter safety drills, which are practiced by 95% of schools across the United States. The bipartisan School Safety Drill Research Act would provide K-12 schools with evidence-backed, standardized recommendations for conducting effective drills while protecting the mental well-being of students, parents, teachers, and school personnel. 

“Preparing our students, parents, and educators for a crisis or emergency is essential to school community safety. While we encourage our schools to conduct lockdown and active shooter drills, we must also consider the impacts of these effective exercises on our communities’ mental wellbeing,” said Congressman Fitzpatrick. “I am proud to partner with Representative Pettersen (D-CO), Representative Mace (R-SC), and Representative Moskowitz (D-FL) in introducing this bipartisan legislation and requiring the Department of Education to research and report on the mental health effects of critical safety drills.”

“I was in the 11th grade at a neighboring high school during the Columbine massacre. Our community knows all too well the pain and trauma school shootings and their aftermath cause to the students, parents, and teachers involved—as well as the entire community,” said Congresswoman Pettersen. “While it is crucial to prioritize the safety and preparedness of our schools, we must also consider the mental health implications of these drills. I’m proud to introduce this bipartisan legislation to ensure active shooter and lockdown drills are effective, safe, and prioritize the well-being of our kids.”

"We cannot continue to bury our heads in the sand when it comes to gun violence and the affect it has on our children. By conducting a comprehensive study on the potential mental health impacts of lockdown or active shooter drills in schools, we can ensure that our safety measures do not inadvertently harm the emotional well-being of our children,” said Congresswoman Mace. “This act will provide valuable insights that can guide the development of effective and compassionate protocols, ensuring both physical safety and mental resilience for our students. We remain committed to working towards creating safer learning environments for all of our children regardless of where they live and go to school."

“On February 14, 2018, my son was at school just down the street when the mass shooting took place at my high school, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, and 17 innocent people were murdered. He was hiding in a closet on lockdown,” said Congressman Moskowitz. “My community has lived with the trauma ever since, and we now live in a world where our children are forced to conduct active shooter drills regularly, which undoubtedly impacts their mental health and way of life. This legislation will help us better understand the consequences of these unfortunate but necessary drills on our children and help us put forward a holistic approach to keep our kids safe in school.”

The School Safety Drill Research Act would address these gaps by studying and identifying the best practices to maximize the effectiveness of school safety drills, as well as funding the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine to examine the possible mental health effects of active shooter drills, lockdown drills, and other firearm violence prevention activities in schools on school staff and students, including younger children and children with disabilities.