Does your child's school practice school lockdown drills? In the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newton, Connecticut last December, it's likely that more and more districts will initiate and implement safety plans, including school lockdown drills, in their schools.
The Sandy Hook tragedy has shaken even the most resilient and stoic among us to the core. Aside from the tears and the questions--many of them largely unanswerable and moot--has been the impulse, especially among parents, to try to do everything in our power to prevent something like this from happening again.
There have been calls for new gun laws, and school-safety experts have seen an overwhelming volume of new demands for their services. And there has reportedly even been a dramatic increase in the sale of bulletproof backpacks-- a stark and startling example of just how far parents are going to try to protect their children.
While it's highly unlikely that most parents will shell out hundreds of dollars for a bulletproof backpack, they will most certainly want their child's school to have some kind of emergency plan to protect kids in the event of a violent threat. Today, in cities and towns across the country, many schools are implementing or refining school lockdown drills.
For the most part, parents of grade-schoolers today don't have first-hand experience with school safety drills with the exception of fire drills. (Most of us went to school at a time after "duck and cover" bomb drills were being phased out and before mass school shootings at schools hit the radar after massacres at Columbine and Sandy Hook.) Until Sandy Hook, I have to admit that I myself didn't give much thought to the importance of lockdown drills in schools.
I can't tell you how sad it makes me to think that there is even a market for such a thing as bulletproof backpacks, and that children today have to participate in lockdown drills in the first place. To reassure our kids, we can tell them that lockdown drills, like fire drills, are a safety measure against a remote possibility, and that it's a way to make sure the school and students are ready for anything, no matter how unlikely it is to happen. Meanwhile, I try to remind myself of the same thing as I drop my own son off at school each morning.
To learn about school lockdown drills and what parents and administrators can do to protect kids, read, "What is a School Lockdown Drill?" and "School Security Today -- What Parents Need to Know About School Lockdown Drills."