Some Colorado schools are getting buckets and kitty litter so students can go to the bathroom during lockdowns if there's an active shooter
- A school district in Denver, Colorado, has started adding large buckets and kitty litter to teacher's supply lists.
- These "go buckets" could be impromptu toilets in the event of a long lockdown caused by an active shooter or bomb threat.
- In addition to the bucket and kitty litter, the teachers were also given a pop-up tent to put around the bucket, a first aid kit, and a Sharpie to mark the time if a teacher has to tie a tourniquet to stop gunshot bleeding.
- The buckets and kitty litter are just the latest in a growing number of proposed solutions to live with the possibility of a potential school shooting
- For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.
In some Colorado schools, teachers are asking parents to bring in buckets filled with kitty litter to act as a toilet if children are trapped in their classrooms during lockdowns.
Called "go buckets," these human litter boxes have been added to the school supply lists for teachers at Jeffco Public Schools in Denver.
In an interview with Insider, Diana Wilson, a spokeswoman for Jeffco Public Schools, said the idea for the go buckets came after a prolonged lockdown several years ago at Alameda High School.
In that case, the threat of an armed gunman turned out to be false, but students couldn't leave their classes until police had cleared every room in the building. That process can take hours, and in the Alameda case, Wilson said students were forced to relieve themselves in trash bags.
Wilson said about half of all Jeffco schools have opted-in for the go buckets and the school district leaves the decision whether or not to use the buckets up to the head of each school.
In a Twitter post, Jeffco Public Schools seventh grade teacher Cassie Lopez explained how teachers were also provided with first aid kits, toilet paper, kitty litter, and a pop-up tent to be used around the buckets as covering.
'We're literally treating our children like animals'
Lopez said the school also provided teachers with Sharpie markers, but not for the reason you might expect. In the event that teachers have to tie a tourniquet to stop bleeding from a gunshot wound, they are supposed to write the time they tied the tourniquet on the student's body so paramedics know how long they've been bleeding.
"This isn't normal," Lopez says in the video.
In an interview with Fox News Denver, Lopez spoke about the morbid symbolism of the buckets.
"It was upsetting because it was just very symbolic of where our country is at right now," she said. "The fact that there is a need to have a makeshift toilet in our classroom just says so much about where we're at."
In an interview with Insider, Josh Sugarmann, executive director for the Violence Policy Center, said he disapproved of the buckets.
"This is sickening," Sugarmann said. "The lack of action on gun violence in our nation has led us to the point where we're literally treating our children like animals."
Wilson defended the school's use of the buckets and said Lopez's reaction was unusual and that most teachers supported the decision.
"We're the state of Columbine, so we air on the side of caution and we always will," Wilson said, referencing the 1999 shooting that left 12 students dead.
An increasingly common concern
School shootings have become a regular fear for teachers and students around the county.
An NBC school shooting tracker identified 41 school shootings since 2013, four of which occurred in 2019. But definitions of what constitutes a school shooting varies. A CNN estimate places the 2019 amount much higher, at 22 school shootings.
School lockdowns became more common after the Columbine shooting and are regularly practiced alongside earthquake, tornado, and other natural disaster drills. During a lockdown, the teacher typically locks the classroom doors, covers the windows, and has students leave their seats and hide.
These new go buckets are just the latest response in a frantic attempt to deal with the perceived possibility of a potential school shooter. In recent years, the lockdown drills have taken on new, hyper-realistic forms, where teachers act out hypothetical situations and fake gunmen roam the school's campus wielding pellet guns.
In at least one case earlier this year, a teacher was shot with a pellet during a drill.
During active shooter drill, four teachers at a time were taken into a room, told to crouch down and were shot execution style with some sort of projectiles - resulting in injuries to the extent that welts appeared, and blood was drawn.— Indiana State Teachers Association (@ISTAmembers) March 20, 2019
In other cases, gun rights supporters have encouraged teachers around the country to learn how to use firearms themselves and are advocating for campus carry laws that would let teachers wield guns at school.
A growing number of companies, including Walmart and Home Depot, have even started selling bulletproof backpacks.
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