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On May 27, 2022, a child looks at a memorial site for the victims killed in the May 24 shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. (AP) On May 27, 2022, a child looks at a memorial site for the victims killed in the May 24 shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. (AP)

On May 27, 2022, a child looks at a memorial site for the victims killed in the May 24 shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. (AP)

Madison Czopek
By Madison Czopek May 31, 2022

Active shooter drills are common in American schools, not evidence of false flag attack

If Your Time is short

  • About 95% of schools nationwide drill students on active shooter lockdown procedures.

  • It isn’t unusual that an active shooter training happened at Uvalde High School in March.

  • Uvalde is a small town with a population of about 15,000 people. A gunman shot and killed a teacher who was married to a school district police officer, but there’s no evidence those circumstances are suspicious or indicative of a false flag attack.

Active shooter drills are pervasive in American schools.

Although there is growing concern that active shooter drills increase students’ anxiety, school shootings like the one at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, often prompt calls for more active shooter drills

Many states, including Texas, require schools to run active shooter drills. About 95% of American public schools conduct lockdown drills, according to U.S. Education Department data

Despite this, some social media users claim that the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District’s active shooter trainings somehow prove that the elementary school shooting was a false flag attack.

"So let me get this straight," said a man in a TikTok video also posted to Instagram on May 26. "They conducted an active shooter drill at the high school in the same town two months prior, and then magically, they had a shooting at the elementary school."

The video featured eerie background music and a New York Post article with the headline, "Chilling images show students at Salvador Ramos’ HS pretending to be dead during active-shooter drill." 

Authorities have said that 18-year-old Ramos killed at least 19 students and two teachers at the elementary school on May 24. A law enforcement officer killed Ramos at the scene. Authorities are still investigating the shooting.

The post containing the video was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

Taken in its totality, the video suggests that an active shooter drill at Uvalde High School in March is evidence that the elementary school shooting was a false flag attack. That’s a baseless claim.

The term "false flag" refers to harmful actions that are designed to look like they were perpetrated by one person or group, when in fact that attack was committed by someone else. Unfounded claims often circulate after mass shootings suggesting that the attacks were false flags devised by the government in an effort to enact gun control laws.

In March, the school district’s police department said the goal of an active shooter training at the high school that month was "to train every Uvalde area law enforcement officer so that we can prepare as best as possible for any situation that may arise."

The man in the TikTok video also said a police officer who was part of the training was married to one of the teachers killed. That is true, but not indicative of a false flag operation.

Uvalde is home to about 15,000 people.

"Everyone knows everybody," Uvalde resident Tim Wiginton told Canada’s CBC on May 26. "So whether you were directly impacted (by the school shooting) or you know someone who was there, whose kids were there, first responders who responded — everyone knows someone that was connected with it."

Our ruling

A video shared on Instagram claimed an active shooter drill at Uvalde High School two months before the Robb Elementary School shooting shows the event was a false flag.

This is not true. Active shooter trainings are common in schools across America. The fact that an active shooter training was held at Uvalde High School two months before the elementary school shooting does not mean that the death of 19 students and two teachers was a false flag attack.

We rate this claim Pants on Fire.

RELATED: Fact-checking misinformation about the Uvalde school shooting

Our Sources

New York Post, "Chilling images show students at Salvador Ramos’ HS pretending to be dead during active-shooter drill," May 25, 2022

PolitiFact, "Why do some people think mass shootings are staged every time?" Aug. 8, 2019

PolitiFact, "No, the Uvalde school shooting wasn’t a false flag," May 24, 2022

Uvalde CISD Police Department Facebook post, March 22, 2022

ABC News 25, "Teacher who died in Texas school shooting was married to school district police officer," May 27, 2022

Reuters, "Family grieves teacher killed in Texas school massacre," May 24, 2022

U.S. Census Bureau, "QuickFacts, Uvalde city, Texas; United States," accessed May 31, 2022

Texas Tribune, "‘This is not us’: Tight-knit Uvalde, rooted in Texas history, navigates incalculable grief," May 29, 2022

CBC, "Emotions raw in Uvalde, Texas, as residents grieve victims of school shooting," May 26, 2022

National Center for Education Statistics, "​​Crime, Violence, Discipline, and Safety in U.S. Public Schools," September 2007

Everytown For Gun Safety, "The Impact of Active Shooter Drills in Schools," Sept. 3, 2020

National Center for Education Statistics, "Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2017," March 2018

NBC News, "Active shooter drills are scaring kids and may not protect them. Some schools are taking a new approach," April 14, 2019

Vox, "After Parkland, a push for more school shooting drills," March 14, 2018

The New York Times, "When Active-Shooter Drills Scare the Children They Hope to Protect," Sept. 4, 2019

Children’s Legal Rights Journal, "School Shooting Simulations: At What Point Does Preparation Become More Harmful than Helpful?" Jan. 1, 2015

NBC News, "Fake Blood and Blanks: Schools Stage Active Shooter Drills," Feb. 14, 2014

Revised statutes of Missouri, "170.315.  Active shooter and intruder response training for schools program established, purpose — mandatory drill to be conducted," accessed May 31, 2022

Indy​​ Star, "‘It hurt so bad’: Indiana teachers shot with plastic pellets during active shooter training," March 21, 2019

The Guardian, "Ban traumatic ‘shooter drills’ in US schools, urge teachers," Feb. 29, 2020

The Washington Post, "Gunman emerged from classroom closet firing at Border Patrol agents, official says," May 27, 2022

NPR, "What we know about the victims of the Uvalde school shooting," May 27, 2022

Texas Tribune, "Texas has some safety requirements for public schools — but leaves most of the particulars up to education officials," May 25, 2022

Education Week, "‘I Felt More Traumatized Than Trained': Active-Shooter Drills Take Toll on Teachers," March 24, 2019

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Active shooter drills are common in American schools, not evidence of false flag attack

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