Date of Award

Fall 2022

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Columbine, Sandy Hook, Parkland: these are words that represent moments in history where schools should have become unprecedented sites of tragedy and isolated events. Except Columbine occurred in 1999, Sandy Hook in 2012, and Parkland in 2016, making them almost commonplace alongside hundreds of other mass shootings in the US. In place of gun regulation, schools are mandated to conduct active shooter drills, which mimic actual shootings through simulated events including the use of rubber bullets and masked actors to produce visceral reactions. Research has shown that these drills have produced trauma and desensitization among teachers, administrators, and counselors; but few analyze the student experience. The social psychology of adults as it relates to their training can, at best, only account theoretically for the effects of these simulations on children. This study addresses the gap in literature by asking how recent high school graduates reflect on and interpret the development and experiences of active shooter drills that took place during their K-12 education. I will conduct 10-20 in-depth, semi-structured interviews of current students enrolled in Sociology courses at Loyola University Chicago. My aim is to better understand how young adults and teenagers make sense of active shooter drills, and how the drills influence development and social reproduction throughout elementary school, high school, and into adult life.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

Available for download on Sunday, February 02, 2025

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