'Generation Lockdown': PSA highlights how active shooter drills have become the new normal

With active shooter drills becoming commonplace in virtually every American school since two students carried out a 1999 attack at Columbine High School, children who have grown up in an era of mass shootings have become so well versed on how to respond to those horrific events that they could themselves lead similar training sessions.

A new public service announcement released by March For Our Lives, the organization formed in the days following the 2018 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., imagines exactly that.

In the two-minute spot, titled “Generation Lockdown,” a young girl leads an active shooter training session for a group of employees at an office in Southern California.

“If there was an active shooter, you would all be dead,” the girl, identified as Kayleigh, says matter of factly.

“When you talk out loud, the shooter can tell where you are and where you’re hiding,” she says. “Sometimes we play the game ‘Who can stay quietest the longest.’”

A girl leads an active shooter drill in a scene from a new March For Our Lives PSA
A girl leads an active shooter drill in a scene from a new March For Our Lives PSA. (Photo: March for Our Lives via YouTube)

The girl tells the employees that blocking the doors with furniture and placing paper over windows can help them hide from active shooters.

“You can't cry,” she says, “it gives away your position.”

If the shooter comes into the room, “screaming won't do anything,” she adds. “You have to fight back.”

The ad concludes with the girl recalling how her teacher used to sing a song to help them remember what to do if a shooter entered the building.

"Lockdown, lockdown, let's all hide," she sings. "Lock the doors and stay inside. Crouch on down, don't make a sound."

According to March For Our Lives, 95 percent of U.S. public schools practice active shooter drills.

The organization is urging viewers to support the “Background Check Expansion Act,” introduced in January by Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn. The legislation, which would require a background check for every firearm sale, was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee. It has yet to come up for a vote.


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