EFFECTIVE LOCKDOWN DRILLS AT YOUR KID’S SCHOOL
As a precaution, kids in the 1950s and ’60s had to practice “duck and cover” drills in the event of a nuclear attack. Lockdown drills are now commonplace in schools of all levels, including K-12 and certain colleges and universities. Lockdown drills, mandated in most jurisdictions, respond to recent school shootings.
The Need for a Lockdown Drill at Your School
A school lockdown practice is designed to keep students and staff safe in an emergency, such as an active shooter situation. Like other safety programs and exercises, the goal is to familiarize children and teachers with a procedure that they can follow quickly, effectively, and safely.
Preparation for a Lockdown Drill
In contrast to evacuation drills, a lockdown drill is much more serious. In the case of a threat, such as a bomb, students, instructors, administrators, and other school personnel should be prepared to leave the building in a pre-planned and organized manner. Evacuation drills serve this purpose.
A lockdown drill requires pupils to vacate the hallways and report to the nearest available classroom, where they are instructed to remain as quiet as possible. Local law enforcement personnel are often involved in the planning and executing of these exercises.
An ideal scenario would be to conduct these drills several times throughout the year at various times of the day and without prior announcement (during lunch or recess, in the middle of the day when students arrive or leave for the day) so that students and staff can practice what to do in various situations.
Practicing Lockdown Drills
Lockdown drills at most schools are conducted similarly:
- Classroom doors have been locked and closed.
- Students are escorted from windows and entrances to a secure area within the room.
- Suddenly, everyone is on the floor or out of the door’s line of sight.
- The window coverings have been lowered.
- There are no windows in doors (to prevent an intruder from seeing into the room).
- Turning off the classroom’s lights
On your state’s Department of Education website, you can learn more about the safety protocols and drills at your school.
Providing Support for Students in Stressful Situations
The majority treats lockdowns of kids in the same way that a fire drill would be treated. Few children will be terrified or anxious, although the change in routine may be perplexing or unpleasant for them.
On the other hand, Lockdown exercises might be extremely frightening for certain children. Children who have seen news reports about school shootings or who have had firsthand experience or knowledge of gun violence may be among those at risk.
If you think your child could have these worries (or if they’ve already expressed them to you), it’s best to take action. To ensure that your message and the school’s message are the same, you may want to meet with your child’s school personnel to determine the best approach to present and discuss lockdowns.
Lockdowns, like fire drills, are often comforting to youngsters because they are another way adults ensure their children’s safety.