A teacher went viral with a TikTok showing how she put hockey pucks under desks in her class.
She said she decided to do it so students could throw them at a potential school shooter.
An expert told Insider that he understood why the teacher did it but said the tactic could send a "troubling" message.
A Michigan teacher amassed over 2 million views on a TikTok video where she showed how she taped hockey pucks under her students' desks, so they could throw them at a potential school shooter, but one expert told Insider the tactic could send a "troubling" message to students.
In the video, Carly Zacharias, who teaches Spanish to 9th and 10th grade students, said she wanted to give her students "something to prepare themselves" in case of a school shooting because her classroom door is made of wood and has a window in the middle.
Zacharias deleted the video on Tuesday, telling Insider: "I think my boss wanted me to."
She said she decided to plant hockey pucks within reach underneath every desk because they can "really hurt somebody," and that "it definitely makes us feel a little bit better."
Zacharias told Insider she'd gotten "mixed responses" to the viral video but said most were positive. The clip, posted at the beginning of January, had amassed over 400,000 likes before it was removed, with many commenters expressing sadness and frustration that such a precaution would even be necessary.
She said a student from Michigan's Oxford High School — where four people were killed and seven others were injured in a November shooting — thanked her for "being proactive" and giving her students more than the "typical" supplies.
Zacharias said her own students were grateful that their classroom is "a little bit safer than most of the others."
Hockey pucks were previously provided to students and faculty members as a defense mechanism against school shooters at Oakland University in Michigan in 2018, according to CNN.
Speaking about Oakland University's hockey puck measure in 2018, the school's Police Chief, Mark Gordon, told the local news channel WXYZ that throwing a puck at a gunman "would probably cause some injury" and "would be a distraction if nothing else."
Experts worry students can be traumatized by efforts to prepare them for shooters
David Schonfeld, the Director of the National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement at Children's Hospital Los Angeles, told Insider that instituting a measure like this could suggest to students they have "a high risk of an active shooter coming into their classroom," which could be a "troubling" message "for a number of kids" and is "not accurate."
The Washington Post in 2018 reported the statistical likelihood of a public school student in the US being killed by gunfire at school was roughly 1 in 614,000,000 since 1999. Still, anxieties about school shooting are high. According to 2018 data from the PEW Research Center, 57% of teenagers aged 13 to 17 said they were at least somewhat worried about a school shooting.
Schonfeld said the hockey pucks could lead students to not "flee as quickly" or take other preventative measures, since they'd be focused on the puck.
"Someone with an assault weapon being stopped by a child with a hockey puck, or even 30 children with a hockey puck, is probably stacked more toward the advantage of the person with the assault weapon," he said, adding that he wouldn't recommended the tactic although he can "understand why an educator might consider it."
Still, he said the "bigger issue" is adults need to speak to children about their anxieties related to school shootings.
Some experts have raised alarms about active-shooter trainings in schools, and said they worry certain types of drills meant to prepare students actually traumatize them.
Melissa Reeves, a professor at Winthrop University and the former president of the National Association of School Psychologists, told NPR in 2019 that certain types of active-shooter trainings create a "sensorial experience, which really heightens all of our senses."
"And what these drills can really do is potentially trigger either past trauma or trigger such a significant physiological reaction that it actually ends up scaring the individuals instead of better preparing them to respond in these kinds of situations," she said.
Read the original article on Insider