Lockdown drills must be taken more seriously

Lockdown drills have been a regular part of students’ lives for years now, ubiquitous in schools across America. While public and student safety has been a concern for many years, this problem has taken on a new significance in the wake of horrific school shootings such as the one in Parkland, Florida in February of 2018. In this incident, a gunman entered a public high school, killing 17 people and wounding 15 others.

This tragedy, along with many others, has sparked the realization that school safety is something that needs to be taken more seriously. As the number of school shootings increase each year, teachers and students are starting to see that lockdown drills are not losing their impact.

At Schreiber, a lockdown drill begins with an announcement over the speakers about the drill that is about to commence with instructions for faculty and students. These instructions direct students to move away from the door, preferably in a corner opposite the entryway, and for faculty to lock their doors.

After the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting, an attack where a gunman fatally shot 20 elementary school children and six staff members, schools across the nation increased the frequency in their lockdown drills. While this was certainly a positive step towards increasing safety, The Schreiber Times strongly believes that it should not be the only focus when considering these drills.

The focus here should be on training students to adapt to different possible scenarios. For example, many students have not been present in the cafeteria during a lockdown drill. If there was a situation in which an active shooter was found on campus, many, if not most students would be confused and unsure about what to do in this location.  The immediate response would be to get away from windows, but this is often a challenge considering Schreiber’s cafeteria is surrounded by them.

Situations like this explain why lockdown drills need to be more than just a simple ten-minute action. Instead, lockdown drills should start a conversation between students, teachers, and administrators on how they can remain safe in emergency situations.

One possible way to encourage discussion is by holding an open forum for students and faculty to ask questions. Questions stimulate conversation, which leads to a deeper understanding of any topic. Guidelines must be set into place and everyone, especially faculty, should be aware of these rules so they can be kept safe at school.

While discussion of safety in schools has increased leaps and bounds over the past five years, so many details have yet to be covered. In an issue as pressing as the safety of children in schools, there should not be any question on what to do if an active shooter were to ever be found on campus.  There is no worse place for ignorance than when it concerns the lives of our students.