Major City Teachers Are Unschooled On Lockdown Drills

In the largest public school district, many teachers don't know standard procedure for school lockdown drills.

By Jessica Marie Baumgartner | Published

Pediatricians Say Children With Head Lice Should Remain In School

lockdown drills

Lockdown drills have become common practices in the public education system. Just as “duck and cover” drills were common in schools during the cold war, many have questioned the validity of such practices, but New York City mandated them back in 2016. Despite having been in practice for years, some teachers in the area are still not being properly trained on the exact steps to take. 

While the odds of a student being harmed in a mass school shooting are 1 in 10 million, the same as being struck by lightning, lockdown drills can prevent violence and save lives. The majority of school shootings are isolated incidents between feuding students, but even so, if a gun is revealed, students are much safer in locked classrooms, and less conspicuous when teachers shut off the lights and have everyone hide. It is a tactic that helped keep students safe when an intruder attempted to break into an Alabama school and was shot by the resource officer. 

Many parents, teachers, and school officials are still reeling from what happened in Uvalde, Texas during the Robb Elementary school shooting and seeking action, but in fact, if the school had properly locked exterior side doors as all schools are instructed to do, the shooter would likely have been prevented. This being so, ensuring that proper lockdown measures are carried out is essential to survival rates in the rare event of a terrifying shooting. Teachers need to be versed in lockdown drills to prepare themselves for the worst-case scenario as a precautionary measure. 

Because lockdown drills have been a standard for years now, many new teachers are just not receiving the proper instruction on how to practice these techniques. In New York, one teacher admitted that he thought he only needed to lock the door and continue teaching. Each state has its own set of rules and regulations, and many districts handle these efforts individually. Ensuring that those just entering the profession are equipped with the proper knowledge is important.

Lockdown drills are composed of four main components when regarding teacher leadership. First teachers are instructed to check the hallway. This gives them a proper gauge of the severity of the situation and affords them the opportunity to shelter students who are walking between classes or taking a bathroom break. Then, teachers must lock the classroom door, which serves as a barrier in dire circumstances, but that is not enough. Teachers must also turn off the lights and instruct everyone to get out of sight to make the classroom look empty. 

Intruders looking for victims are more likely to lash out when finding a group of people who are easily accessible. Lockdown drills work to prevent easy access in order to bide teachers and students time for law enforcement to arrive and stop the perpetrator. Although, during the Ulvalde shooting, police stood down for about an hour, leaving children to call into 9-1-1 on their cell phones and beg for help, and at least one child bled out from lesser injuries and could have been saved, had the police stopped the shooter as soon as they arrived on scene. 

lockdown drills

While some claim that lockdown drills do not work, others believe it is a necessity to keep children safe. New York City teachers are not always being instructed on the proper protocols and so updates may need to be made. Thankfully mass school shootings are not common and so many teachers and students will go through their entire career without even having to test these measures.