March For Our Lives, a pro-gun reform nonprofit formed by the students who survived the mass shooting in Parkland, FL, dropped a chilling video that features a young girl advising adults on surviving an active shooter event on campus.
The fact that children are the ones who are well-versed in how to save their lives and the lives of their friends when a person with a gun is loose in their school is hitting many people right in the gut – surely as the nonprofit intended.
They’re hoping that the ad can boost support for Senate Resolution 42, the Background Check Expansion Act, a piece of legislation that aims to close dangerous loopholes in gun sales.
If you’re like me, you try not to think too much about what active shooter drills are doing to the kids in America, but the truth is, they’re learning survival skills no 5-year-old kid should ever have to face down. In the ad, a young girl named Kayleigh is introduced to a group of adults at a team building event as an expert on active shooter drills.
It’s clear from the reactions in the room that they were expecting another adult, not a child who looks to be younger than twelve.
Her voice, as she explains what she knows and how she plans to survive if the nightmare shows up next at her school, is matter-of-fact and without any sort of emotion. As if this is a normal thing to know about.
For her, and millions of other school-aged kids, it is now.
“If there was an active shooter, you’d all be dead,” she begins. “When you talk out loud the shooter can tell where you are and where you are hiding. Sometimes we play the game ‘who can stay quiet the longest’ so we all remember.”
Because, you see, they’re children. Playing games is the way teachers get them to remember things. To pay attention to what is important information.
In this case, potentially life-saving.
“You can try and protect your friends by pushing the tables and chairs against the door. You also have to put a piece of paper over the door window so they can’t see in. And you can’t cry. It gives away your position and your hiding spot.”
I’ve been in a classroom when an active shooter drill took place. It was high school.
Two of the kids were holding back sobs, and we knew it was a drill.
“And if you’re in the bathrooms, you have to stand on the toilet seat and crunch down so they can’t see your feet and they can’t see your head so they don’t know you’re in there.”
Horrifying. I’m horrified at this point in the video and I don’t want to watch more but I know that I must, because kids are living this on a regular basis.
She goes on to give advice on how to gather intelligence about the shooter and the weapon so that you can help the police. Her “bang bang bang” is haunting and startling all at once, but Kayleigh? Still not affected by her own words.
“If the shooter comes in the room, screaming won’t do anything. You have to try and fight back. If you can’t escape, we get taught the emergency window escape plan where you have to break a window, put clothes over the frame, and climb through.”
The screen goes dark as Kayleigh sings the song her elementary school teacher used to sing to help them remember.
“Lockdown, lockdown let’s all hide. Lock the doors and stay inside. Crouch on down. Don’t make a sound. And don’t cry or you’ll be found.”
I wanted to throw up.
If you feel the same after watching it, March For Our Lives encourages you to take action.
“Instead of passing laws to stop guns falling into dangerous hands, politicians have forced millions of kids to become experts in survival. Let’s make enough noise so that politicians have no choice but to embrace gun reform and protect children from gun violence.”
You can sign their petition here.