Villa measure would establish guidelines for trauma-informed school lockdown drills

SPRINGFIELD – School lockdown drills would no longer include graphic simulations to mimic a school shooting under legislation sponsored by State Senator Karina Villa (D-West Chicago), which passed the Senate Thursday.

“Schools must implement a trauma-informed approach for lockdown drills to protect our students,” Villa said. “School shooters continue to claim the lives of children across our country, and we need an approach to lockdown drills that will not be harmful to our students’ mental health.”

Villa’s legislation would tone down law enforcement drills for school shootings to put students’ safety and well-being at the forefront. Any drills would have to be announced in advance and involve school personnel, and they could not include active shooter simulations.

Parents and guardians would be notified of upcoming lockdown drills and could choose to exempt their child from participation for any reason. School administrators and personnel would also be able to exempt students from participation in lockdown drills, and instead provide alternative safety education and instruction related to an active threat.

“As many students live in fear of a shooting happening at their school, it’s important that we work to keep them safe without causing additional trauma,” Villa said. “This legislation will give students an opportunity to prepare for an active threat without having to experience the distress of a school shooting.”

House Bill 2400 passed the Senate with a vote of 57-0.