Iowa City Community School District considers changing active intruder procedures

District officials discussed other ways to respond to an active intruder in schools, including violence prevention strategies.


Shuntaro Kawasaki

Iowa City Community School District board members speak during a meeting at the Professional Development Center at the Educational Services Center in Iowa City on Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023.

Virginia Russell, News Reporter

The Iowa City Community School District is considering changing its active shooter training after dissatisfaction with its current model.

Iowa City Community School District School Board members discussed potential changes that could be made after a presentation by Hanover Research that indicated active intruder drills were not beneficial.

According to the presentation, schools were recommended to incorporate different lockdown procedures into their plans after the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre occurred on Dec. 14, 2012. 

“Some districts train both students and teachers. Some active intruder drills can include ‘sensorial’ active tactics that are not research-based or shown to protect teachers and students,” a report included in the presentation stated. 

The findings also stated the psychological effects of the active shooter drills on those in the district can harm the short and long-term mental health and well-being of students, teachers, and parents. 

Additionally, it was found that exposure to these drills may cause students emotional stress during their developmental years. 

After the presentation, it was recommended that the school district adopt various procedures, such as violence prevention strategies, trauma training, lockdown drills, and the implementation of a school safety team.

Matt Degner, Iowa City Community School District superintendent and board member, said moving forward, it would be beneficial for the district to discuss with the students what procedure would look like at schools.

The school district plans to schedule a work session and include topics such as revising current safety plans and develop training programs based on research and collaborate with local agencies.