Many schools are implementing lockdown drills and fire drills regarding school safety. During a lockdown drill, everyone in the building learns how to defend themselves when an armed intruder enters the building.
States have their policies and procedures for lockdown exercises, and there is no one set of standardized legislation or directives for their implementation. Most school lockdown drills, however, focus on teaching students and adults how to barricade themselves in rooms and hide from an intruder who is armed and aggressive.
Ohio, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Texas all have legislation requiring schools to practice lockdown drills at least once a year, as do the states of Rhode Island, Texas, and Ohio. Many of these laws force students from kindergarten through college to participate in drills in public and private institutions.
Asking your child’s school or visiting the website of your state’s Department of Education is the best way for parents to learn about their state’s requirements for lockdown drills and other safety measures at the school.
Currently, Schools Use Safety Drills.
Schools are undertaking various drills for the safety of students, educators, and staff. Most schools have lockdown exercises, in which children and adults practice hiding, avoiding doors, and remaining silent.
More controversially, local police enforcement instructors educate children and adults on how to fight back against a shooter in the event of an attack, including hiding and evacuating the building.
Greg Crane, a former SWAT officer and founder of A.L.I.C.E. (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate), developed one of these programs currently in use. Crane believes that the emphasis is too often placed on teaching people how to hide in a room when it comes to lockdown drills.
Crane warns against giving a one-size-fits-all answer to a problem. According to Crane, “in 98 percent of these instances, you have a solitary gunman.” “I would flee the building if I thought there was a killer inside.”
In defense vs. running away and hiding
If a shooter confronts you, Crane encourages you to use all your options, including fleeing away or attempting to fight back. “Students and instructors should know to ask themselves, ‘What are our options?’ if they’ve just been alerted by the administration that something is happening in the corridor. I can’t see any windows. Crane asks, “Can we sprint out of an exit?”
According to Crane, students and teachers should work together to identify and discuss the best responses to a violent threat, then have their ideas examined and evaluated by safety experts as part of a practice. School administrators should be approached by parents and asked, “What is the plan?” Is it only for cover? How many alternatives are there?
The president of a private firm specializing in K-12 school security assessments and crisis-preparedness training assessments, Ken Trump, strongly advises against any school security procedures that teach students to attack intruders or formulate their plans. Trump is president of the National School Safety and Security Services
“What about youngsters with specific needs?” What’s appropriate for my child’s age? Donald Trump asks, “And how can you expect middle kids who can’t even choose between lunch entrees to make life and death decisions?”
As a result, Trump prefers the traditional lockdown safety strategy for schools, in which school employees and children hide and block their doors if an intruder is discovered.
According to security expert Ken Trump, schools must review their safety measures and engage with law enforcement on active-shooter drills. In addition, he wants government authorities to increase federal funding for school security equipment, police, and resources.
School Safety: What Parents Can Do
Parents may wonder how lockdown drills are implemented, what additional safety measures are in place, and how to deal with their children’s concerns or inquiries regarding school safety. Here are some ways parents can determine whether their child’s school is adequately prepared in an emergency.
Improve your knowledge about the topic at hand.
Do your investigation. Some school districts and safety professionals disagree on the best ways to prepare for emergencies by conducting safety drills. Examine various approaches to school safety and security, and discuss your concerns with the administration at your child’s school.
National School Safety and Security Services recommends that parents meet to discuss school safety and read their page on parents and school safety for more information.
What safety exercises occur at your child’s school once you’ve learned the basics? When a crisis occurs, ask the school’s principal and safety officers about their contingency plans.
Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification. Is there a regular meeting between school administrators and safety experts? Is there a pattern to when they do safety drills? Is there a floor layout of the school available to first responders?
You should call your school district or state department of education if your child’s school does not have a comprehensive, detailed, and explicit security and safety plan.
It’s time to open out to your children.
Ask your youngster about lockdown drills and find out what they know. Ask them if they understand the purpose of these drills and what to do in the event of an emergency, such as an intruder who poses a threat to their safety.
It’s a good idea to describe what a lockdown exercise can feel like to your child if they haven’t been involved in a drill before. It is important to explain to your child that these drills, like those for fire safety, are merely for practice if someone hazardous comes into the school.
Find out what your child is thinking, what they think they know, and what they are fearful or worried about if participation in school lockdown drills makes them anxious about news events like the Sandy Hook shootings.
Misconceptions regarding the world around them are common in young children. Ensure that your youngster understands the difference between school shootings and lockdown exercises.
When it comes to school safety, what schools can do
There are many things schools may do to ensure that their students are safe, such as working with local law enforcement organizations and school safety professionals to have their safety processes examined. If they don’t already have a plan, they should immediately endeavor to put one in place.
Additionally, the following actions can be taken by schools to enhance safety and security:
- Donald Trump argues the building should only have one entrance and that employees should be trained to greet and challenge newcomers and take other steps to restrict and regulate entry.
- Examine their safety and security measures and violence prevention programs with the help of well-known school safety specialists with experience and several recommendations from other clients.
- Ensure that the school’s floor plans are readily available to first responders in the case of an emergency.
- Encourage your elected representatives to provide more money for initiatives to prevent school violence, such as better security and emergency planning.
Our children’s safety in the classroom must be ensured. Our kids mustn’t worry about these drills, but they should know why they’re taking place. As educators, parents, and school leaders, we are responsible for ensuring the physical and emotional well-being of the students in our care.
So that children don’t only go through the motions but also understand why particular procedures and behaviors are in place, drills need to be clear, practical and presented at their level.
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