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Old 12-14-2012, 07:35 PM   #1
momz
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security in schools

I realize there are situations that could never be imagined and therefore never prepared for.

Our schools have fire drills, tornado drills and "lock down" drills which essentially just means they lock all the doors and don't permit anyone in the hallways.

So, I'm wondering, how can we realistically talk to our children about what to do if there is a shooter in the school? What should we tell them to do? What are the schools telling them to do? Anything?
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Old 12-14-2012, 07:41 PM   #2
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I realize there are situations that could never be imagined and therefore never prepared for.

Our schools have fire drills, tornado drills and "lock down" drills which essentially just means they lock all the doors and don't permit anyone in the hallways.

So, I'm wondering, how can we realistically talk to our children about what to do if there is a shooter in the school? What should we tell them to do? What are the schools telling them to do? Anything?
I really don't know to say to my child, if there a shooter in the school, The only thing I can think of is hide and pray
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Old 12-14-2012, 07:43 PM   #3
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My daughter is in 3rd grade and her school actually had a drill about 2 months ago. They were told that if someone came in the school that did not belong they were to turn off the lights, lock the door, get under their desks and be really quiet. My daughter told me that if the Principal came on the loudspeaker and said "There will be a school meeting at 5:00 today" that was their sign to do the above. One of the problems that I have with the situation, is that the school office is in the back of the building! You pass the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade hall, the cafeteria, the auditorium before reaching the 4th and 5th grade hall (where the office is). I would prefer the office be near the front where people can be watched more carefully. It's scary.
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Old 12-14-2012, 07:45 PM   #4
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I would tell them to follow any school adult directions. If there was an intruder they would go into lockdown mode. In my building, teachers are instructed to move the classes to a location away from windows and doors in the room and check the hall for any other children and pull them in and lock the door. We then have to make sure windows are covered and we are silent. Support staff and administration then check the building to make sure everyone is safe. If you are unsure of your child's school safety procedures, I would check a parent handbook ( if available ) or ask for a copy of the safety procedures.
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Old 12-14-2012, 07:48 PM   #5
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Connecticut School Shooting: Up to 28 Dead, 20 Children
Sorry to hear that.
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Old 12-14-2012, 07:53 PM   #6
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Where I used to teach, we had a safety drill every semester. When the code was announced, we were instructed to turn off all lights and deadbolt our doors. All students needed to be out of sight of the windows and needed to be as quiet as possible. We were to stay put until a uniformed officer came into the classroom for an all clear.

This is what I will talk to my kids about when they are school aged. My biggest concern is that somehow the kids would be coaxed out of the room with an "all clear" and then the gun man be waiting outside the door! This is why at our school we waited for an officer!
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Old 12-14-2012, 07:58 PM   #7
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Where I used to teach, we had a safety drill every semester. When the code was announced, we were instructed to turn off all lights and deadbolt our doors. All students needed to be out of sight of the windows and needed to be as quiet as possible. We were to stay put until a uniformed officer came into the classroom for an all clear.

This is what I will talk to my kids about when they are school aged. My biggest concern is that somehow the kids would be coaxed out of the room with an "all clear" and then the gun man be waiting outside the door! This is why at our school we waited for an officer!
This depends on the school - I never attended a school with deadbolts or anything close on the doors, or officers of any kind.

In general, I'd say if you're concerned, talk to the principal/head about the school's plans for such an event and what the teachers are meant to do and THEN discuss with your kids.
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Old 12-14-2012, 08:02 PM   #8
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Don't be afraid to ask your school what training they give to their staff. I can tell you the training my school gives is nothing. Seriously, nothing, a couple of pages in a binder that teachers never look at, and I called out my admin on it today. He said "we've done drills" and I asked when was the last one, he couldn't answer. I looked at one of our new teachers and asked "what do you do in a lock down" She said she didn't know. He said that isn't fair she's new, I said she's a teacher! In times of crisis you fall to the lowest level of training. Ask your school! In most states it is state law to have fire drills, but nothing about these types of situations. When's the last time a school has burned down and there were victims? Before today when was the last school shooting. Please I beg you demand your school does drills and often
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Old 12-14-2012, 08:06 PM   #9
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I am the chair of my school's Emergency Preparedness Team. We do what many schools do: lock the doors, turn off the lights, and hide. Our district's safety guru told us last year that studies have shown that the gunmen look for passive victims and do not expect somebody to fight back. He said the indication is that if you get the kids to throw books or balls at them and then get several kids to rush the gunman (particularly the gun hand) you can stop the shooting as it will be unexpected and will disarm them. He did state that there is a high likelihood that those children will be shot, but when the alternative is sitting passively and getting shot...

I don't know that I could ever ask my students to do that. Maybe throw things, but never rush them. I think I would do that myself. I just can't believe that we live in a world where we have to even consider such things for elementary students! It's heartbreaking. Thankfully these things are such big news precisely because they are a rare occurrence. And I hope they stay that way.
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Old 12-14-2012, 08:08 PM   #10
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In our district, administrators have to document when we have the various drills and how long the process took.There is also a schedule of when we have to complete them.
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Old 12-14-2012, 08:08 PM   #11
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Our school has a fence on three sides with a gate that is locked. All traffic must flow through the front door by the office. This door is locked and someone must unlock the door for them to enter. If there is a danger to students in the school, we close the blinds, turn out the lights, lock the doors and get to the corner furthest away from windows and doors. We have a bathroom in our classrooom, so I take the students in there and lock that door as well when we have a lockdown drill.
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Old 12-14-2012, 08:15 PM   #12
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In the beginning of the year, we had fire drills, tornado drills and lock down drills. Unfortunately, there is no way to truly predict exact scenarios.
Our lock down procedures have three phases. The 1st and 2nd are similar: lock the doors and continue teaching as normal. The 3rd phrase is to make sure the doors are locked and to hide the children.

I think the most horrifying part of this story (for me as a teacher) is that the shooter was a child of a teacher. At my school, children of teachers are frequent visitors at school. If were to see one of them at school, I wouldn't think anything of it.

A group of teachers discussed after school that this might change schools forever. No more parent volunteers, no more visitors without searches or background checks. It's something to think about.

This is just my opinion of course.
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Old 12-14-2012, 08:16 PM   #13
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My high school was locked down fairly tight.

Building was situated one mile from the entrance to the school "driveway", isolated with no other roads in or out.

After 7:20am, no entry through any door but the main entrance (doors locked). To get in, you enter the first set of unlocked doors, then provide identification to a secretary through a window, state why you're there, they call whoever is vouching for your presence to confirm, write you a pass if confirmed, and buzz open the second door.

Security cameras in every hallway and stairwell.

An on-site police officer--I'm sorry--"School Resource Officer".

No weapons allowed on campus. (I live in a rural area, most students defined "weapon" very loosely as they did not see their multi-tools as weapons, they were tools, and got in trouble for it.)

All students were eligible to be subjected to drug tests or searches if there was probable cause.

Students could not carry backpacks or bags during the day without a doctor's note (I had one because my back is messed up enough that if I carry my books in my arms I can't do anything without pain, not even sit in class).

Lockdowns could happen at any time for any reason, real or drill. I had at least one drill a year and at least one drug dog run a year where they would lock down the building and run the dogs through).

Drills for evacuations, fires, etc happened twice a semester.

Teachers instructed us that if anyone were to get into the school we weren't supposed to sit passively by, that, as a PP said, gunmen are statistically likely to be surprised if the targets fight back. Students sitting nearest the door were told this double.

Yep. That was my high school. "San Quentin High", they called it.
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Old 12-14-2012, 08:31 PM   #14
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The reality is if something like this happens there is nothing you can do. These things are usually over in minutes not hours.

Sort of like saying "what would you do if a semi-truck crosses the lane and is headed straight at you.

Its a scary world for our children, but if you need a comforting thought, its a heck of alot safer for our young kids in this country, then most places and most times in history.

Imagine your children having to grow up in Vietnam in the 60's , or Scotland during the middle ages, or the middle east at any time in the past???
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Old 12-14-2012, 08:31 PM   #15
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One thing I'm going to ask that we consider adding is an off-campus 'safe area'. Sounds like a lot of those kids were told to head to the fire station. In the event of an emergency where we had to leave the campus completely I'd like the idea of a known safe area to congregate.
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