Do you know where your children are? Better yet, do you know what your school-aged children or grandchildren are doing for their intruder drills, lockdown drills or active shooter drills? That may sound like a crazy question, but this type of exercise has been around for many years and has been added to the typical mix of tornado and fire drills. Unfortunately, some schools (along with churches and places of business) still adhere to the lock down, get down, stay down mentality. This tactic is dangerous and can lead to more injuries and loss of life during a violent critical incident.
After the terrible event in Parkland, Florida, many schools decided to revisit and rethink their safety and security measures. I received an email from the assistant superintendent of administration and pupil services in our school system (where our two oldest children are enrolled). Part of that message stated, “Please know that we are using all measures at our disposal to make sure that this does not happen at one of our schools. Our district leaders have been and continue to work closely with all law enforcement agencies that support our schools. Each of our schools has updated safety plans and building leaders are revisiting any concerns that may leave us vulnerable in some way. Our buildings have secure entrances and we are re-evaluating all safety procedures and processes.”
Because the email did not leave me feeling very reassured, I asked both my 15-year-old daughter and my 8-year-old son what they practiced in preparation for this kind of event. Even though our state of Alabama stands by the teachings of the ALICE Training Institute (which encourages proactive, options-based training), both of my kids told me that they basically lock the doors, shut off the lights and hide in an area of the room that is not visible from any doors or windows.
by Beth Alcazar