An explanation of lock down drills
October 31, 2017
The lights are turned off, the door is locked, and everyone gets out of sight. Four times a year, students have to participate in drills in case the schools needs to be locked down. They are all too familiar with mechanics of the procedure but they might not know the importance behind them.
“Lockdowns are complete shutdowns of the school, there is nobody coming in or out of the school and nobody is allowed out of their classrooms,” School Resource Officer Tim Bateman said. “The teachers lock their classroom doors, they are not supposed to open them up for anybody even if it is a student.”
These types of intruder drills have come into practice in recent years due to the heightened awareness of dangerous and possibly violent situations that occur in schools. They have become another staple in school safety procedures along with fire, earthquake, and tornado drills.
“Lockdown can be for all kinds of reasons,” Bateman said. “You can have a lockdown for a medical emergency, a funny smell or odor, or even a big fight.”
Most students today have grown up practicing lockdowns. No matter how stressed the importance of them are, few student take them seriously. For some, it has turned into a chance to get out of doing work and talk to one another.
Lockdown can be for all kinds of reasons. You can have a lockdown for a medical emergency, a funny smell or odor, or even a big fight.”
— Officer Tim Bateman
“Everyone thinks they are a big waste of time, which a lot of times they are, but if you don’t have that muscle memory then you won’t remember where to go or what to do,” Bateman said. “In the society we live in, we don’t think anything is going to happen where we’re at so why worry, but [lockdowns] are happening all over in places just like O’Fallon.”
Lockdown drills tend to be fairly simplistic for the students and teachers. The structure of these drills seems to only cover common sense and may not be worth the loss of instructional time. However, as pointless as they might seem, drills of any kind are not solely for the students, they are for everyone involved in keeping the school safe, including first responders.
“I think that we could have more in-depth and detailed intruder drills,” Bateman said. “It gives the police officers a close real life situational training and then it gives people a taste of what might happen.”
The intensity of lockdown drills has been growing alongside the probability of a possibly dangerous situation. Even though they might seem like a nuisance, all drills are important necessary procedures to practice so that everyone involved remains safe.