Step By Step: Lockdowns

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Step By Step: Lockdowns

Graphic by: Dennis Lubensky

Graphic by: Dennis Lubensky

Graphic by: Dennis Lubensky

Graphic by: Dennis Lubensky

Sarah Asch

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After the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School last December, ABC News reported that there have been 31 school shootings in the U.S. since the Columbine shooting in Colorado in 1999. In response to this rise, Tam admissions reviewed their lockdown policy and made a few adjustments. One was to differentiate between a “hold in place” procedure, where students need to stay in their classrooms because of danger that is not immediate and a “lockdown” procedure, where there is an immediate danger such as an armed intruder on campus. While it is still very unlikely that such an event will occur at our school, it is still important to be aware of proper procedures. Below are the updated steps in case of a lockdown.

Graphic by: Dennis Lubensky

Graphic by: Dennis Lubensky

1. School Defines a Lockdown: Tam’s new procedure regarding lockdown drills gives any teacher or administrator the ability to call a lockdown over the intercom from any school phone. They must state their name and location in the school then state, “this is a campus lockdown. Secure your students and your classroom. If you are one of the first people to witness something that would necessitate a lockdown, such as an armed intruder, call 911 and tell a teacher or administrator.

2. All Rooms Must Be Locked: All doors will be locked and will not be opened again until the danger has passed.

a. If you are not in your classroom, enter the nearest room.

b. If you are outdoors: Run off campus as far away as possible and let someone know where you are.

3. Follow Proper Procedure: After the teacher locks the door, turn off the lights, close the blinds and sit in silence. Put tables and chairs against the door.

4. Shut Off Your Phone: At this time it is crucial that you turn off your phone. Even if you don’t intend to call anyone, as soon as your parents find out what is going on they will try to call you. When a thousand parents call their kids at once, not only will the ringtone alert an intruder of your presence, but the cell service will be blocked, which can prevent contact with more emergency responders.

5. Emergency Responders Arrive: In the case of a serious lockdown emergency, police would respond from all over the area. This is when it is extra important that you stay put and let the police do their jobs. “Cops are going to come in breaking glass,” Assistant Principal Kim Stiffler said. “They are not knocking. If they can find us and get access to a master key, that’s part of our plan, they will enter that way. But if that’s not an option, they are going to come in swinging.”

6. School Begins to Count Heads: During and after the lockdown, the front office will receive emails from teachers, counselors, and staff members in other locations about the students they have, including any extras, as well as the students they are missing. They will begin to cross reference this information with their own records until they know everyone who is accounted for and anyone missing.

7. The Lockdown Ends: After the danger has passed, and each building and surrounding area has been deemed secure, a police officer or administrator will go to every classroom and use a master key to open the door. They won’t knock, because the teachers will not open the door for someone who knocks. It used to be that the end of a lockdown was signaled by the announcement of “all clear” over the intercom. While this is still true of drills, in light of the possibility that an intruder could gain access to the intercom, this is no longer true in a real lockdown. The only thing that can now end lockdown is a police officer or administrator unlocking the door of your classroom.

8. Communication Starts With Parents: Parents will have received updates via email and the school website about the situation as it unfolds. It is critically important that parents don’t call the school, the police, or their children until step eight commences, open communication is initiated by the administration are given further instruction are given. Parents are to not show up at the school. That puts the parent in danger along with everyone else. The best thing a parent can do is stay patient, stay put and let the school and the police do what they are trained to do.

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Step By Step: Lockdowns