Active Shooter Drills Important for Preparedness

NASRO Promotes Guidance Developed with School Psychologists

Published Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Feb. 11, 2020 – Hoover, Ala. – Necessary preparedness for violent attacks on school campuses should include carefully planned and executed drills or exercises that follow specific guidelines to limit adverse effects, the executive director of the National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO) said today.

Responding to recent calls to end active shooter drills in schools, NASRO executive director Mo Canady pointed to guidance NASRO created in collaboration with the National Association of School Psychologists. “Our joint guidance points out that regular practice helps participants develop readiness and quickly access and apply knowledge,” Canady said. “It also makes clear that such practice must be appropriate to individual development levels and take into consideration prior traumatic experiences, special needs, and personalities.”

Other recommendations in the NASRO/NASP guidelines include:

  • Prior to any drill, staff should be trained to recognize common trauma reactions.
  • Adults should monitor participants during the drill and remove anyone exhibiting signs of trauma.
  • After drill completion, staff and students should have access to mental health support, if needed.
  • Drill participation should never be mandatory, and parental consent should be required for all students.
  • A communications plan should give all participants advance warning and the ability to opt out and/or provide feedback.

For more information, download the complete document, “Best Practice Considerations for Schools in Active Shooter and Other Armed Assailant Drills”.


NASRO is a nonprofit organization for school-based law enforcement officers, school administrators, and school security and safety professionals working as partners to protect students, school faculty and staff, and the schools they attend. NASRO is headquartered in Hoover, Alabama, and it was established in 1991. For more information, visit www.nasro.org.

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