COMMENT: I was wondering why there is never a notification of when lockdown drills occur at school – specifically at the elementary level. In the district that I work in, there is an automatic notification sent via e-mail as soon as the drill is over as well as a letter that goes home the day of the drill. Young children can be frightened by drills and being able to talk about it at home is a very important part of helping them to feel safe. My children don’t always remember to tell me that one happened and I only know about it from word of mouth. This is helpful because if my child is upset about going to school the next day because she may be scared of the drill I can help her. It would be nice to receive notification from the school so that it is easier to have a conversation at home about it.
FOLLOWUP COMMENT: I asked the question about the lockdown drill. I’m sorry – I think there was some confusion. The question was why the families aren’t notified AFTER the drill through either an email or a letter home. I am very aware of the regulations regarding not notifying anyone before the drill which I fully understand and support. I have full confidence in the teachers and their ability to instruct students on safety before/during and after the drill but I think having the ability to process the drill at home (afterward) with the children is also an important piece of the process of keeping children safe and more importantly making them feel safe.
RESPONSE: The idea behind the lockdown drills is that students have been informed about how to respond by their teachers. We would not want to announce these in advance because the basic idea of the drills is to “catch” students at any given time to ensure that they would respond appropriately under any and all circumstances. We don’t want them to be prepped or to practice these drills. That defeats the whole purpose. The state’s guidelines say that schools should “instruct and train the pupils by means of drills, so that they may in a sudden emergency be able to respond appropriately in the shortest possible time and without confusion or panic.” Announcing them in advance would defeat the object of the drills. We are sorry if some students feel anxiety about the drills, but they are designed with a specific purpose to keep the entire building safe during an emergency.
FOLLOWUP RESPONSE: While we expect that this may be happening now, we will ask our administrators to take note of any students who appear upset or disturbed after a drill. We would then contact that student’s parents to discuss the drill.