LockdownDrills refer to a school's rehearsal for anything that might require students and teachers to stay put in a classroom with locked doors and windows and the lights turned off. The rehearsal is to prepare for potential instances of nearby police activity, a natural disaster or a potential threat to the campus.
Why conduct Lockdown Drills?
Regular lockdown drills are a necessity so students and staff develop a “muscle memory” response to the lockdown announcement. As with fire drills, the hope is to acclimate students and staff to a procedure that they will be able to follow quickly, effectively, and safely. These drills are practice to help keep everyone safe, by knowing what to do in an emergency situation. Quarterly lockdown drills are mandated by the Arizona Department of Education.
Why conduct unannounced Lockdown Drills?
They are conducted to measure the true readiness for an actual emergency event and to make revisions in the school's emergency plans if need be. Unannounced lockdown drills are not conducted to cause fear or anxiety among the students or staff of a school. GPS does not conduct drills with simulated threats against the school, rather they conduct a normal lockdown drill with the only exception that it is unannounced.
How to speak with your student about Lockdown Drills.
How parents communicate with their child in regard to lockdown drills is crucial in making the experience beneficial. Find out what your child knows about lockdown drills. Ask them if they know what these drills are and if they know what to do in the event of an emergency situation.
Explain to your child what they might experience during a lockdown drill so that they know what to expect. Reassure your child that these drills, like fire drills, are just to practice how to stay safe in the extremely unlikely event that an emergency situation happens in or near the school. Inform them to remain calm and follow their teacher’s directions. Advise your child that there are many people whose job it is to keep them and their school safe.
If participating in school lockdown drills triggers any anxiety in your child about scary news events, find out what they are thinking, what they think they know, and what they are afraid of or worried about.
Children often have lots of misconceptions about things they see and hear. You may need to clear up any confusion your child has about school incidents and lockdown drills.