School shootings are a grim reality and in a bid to help teachers effectively manage such an incident in real life, the United States Army and the Department of Homeland Security are developing a virtual school shooting simulator. The simulator will see multiple players take on roles of a teacher, a law enforcement officer trying to catch the shooter, and even a shooter who may or may not be an adult. The idea behind this project is to help teachers calmly face the situation should an unfortunate event like this ever occur in their school.
This project is based on the Department of Homeland Security’s Enhanced Dynamic Geo-Social Environment multipurpose simulator. It has previously been used to develop a mass-shooting simulator for first responders last year.
The school shooting simulator will give prompts to teachers for tasks like locking the doors and instructing the children to follow them or find a place to hide. Teachers will have to deal with virtual children who may be in crying or in a state of shock. They will also have to listen to the direction of the simulated gunshots in order to figure out the shooter’s location.
DHS spokesperson John Verrico has confirmed that this simulator won’t be released to the public and will only be provided to first responders and vetted schools. The shooter’s characters will either be played by a first responder or police officer who will be able to recreate it more realistically compared to a programmed AI.
Verrico also points out in this interview that this isn’t a game so there’s no “winning” in it for the people involved. It can be best described as a virtual safety drill that will hopefully improve teachers’ abilities to tackle the situation should they ever find themselves in one.
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