When it comes to school safety today, many schools implement not only fire drills, but also blockade drills. Blocking exercises are a set of procedures designed to familiarize building occupants with ways to protect themselves against a threat, such as an armed intruder.
When it comes to school lockout exercises, there is no uniform set of regulations or mandates, and the requirements for what school districts have to implement in their own schools vary from state to state. In general, however, school blockade exercises involve teaching children and adults how to barricade themselves in classrooms and hide from an armed and violent intruder.
States that have laws that require blocking exercises in schools, such as Ohio, Rhode Island, Texas and New Jersey, require schools to perform a set number of blocking and / or evacuation exercises per year. These mandates often require exercises for kindergarten through college, in both public and private schools.
The best way for parents to find out what the requirements are for blocking exercises and other safety measures at their children’s school is to ask their child’s school and visit the website of your state’s Department of Education.
Safety drills currently used in schools
Today’s schools conduct various types of exercises to protect students, teachers and staff from armed and violent intruders. The most common type of security measure includes locking exercises in which students and adults hide, stay away from doors and windows and sit quietly.
Another type of security exercise involves local law enforcement instructors who teach children and adults defensive maneuvers that include not only hiding, but also assessing when the building should be evacuated and, more controversially, the counterattack when directly hired.
One of those programs used today is shot (Alert, Close , Report, Accountant, Evacuation), which was founded by Greg Crane, former SWAT officer. Crane criticizes typical locking exercises because he focuses on teaching people to lock themselves in a room and hide.
«Having only one answer to a situation is dangerous,» says Crane. «In 98% of these situations, you have a solo shooter,» says Crane. «If I knew I had a murderer in the building, I’d run.»
Protection against running and hiding
Crane supports the teaching of all strategies, including fleeing or even trying to fight the gunman when he is directly threatened. «If a principal has just told you that something is going on in the hallway, children and teachers need to know, ‘What are our options? Where are the windows? Can we run out of a way out? » says Crane.
An exercise, according to Crane, should ideally include children and teachers who develop and discuss the best options for a violent threat and then have these ideas reviewed and evaluated by security experts. Parents, Crane says, should talk to school administrators and ask, “What is the plan? Why is it just to hide? What are all the options? «
Other school safety experts, such as Ken Trump, the president National school security and safety services , a private company specializing in K-12 school safety assessments and crisis preparedness assessments, strongly warns against any school safety procedure that teaches children to attack intruders to formulate their own plans.
«What about special education children? What is the right age? And how can high school students who can’t choose between lunches be asked to make coordinated life-and-death decisions in a split second? » says Trump.
Instead, Trump supports the classic approach to locking security for schools, in which school staff and students hide and lock doors in the event of a school intruder.
Ken Trump advises schools to evaluate their safety procedures, encourages them to continue their evacuation planning work, and recommends that they work with law enforcement on active firing drills.
Trump also urges elected officials to increase federal funding for school security teams, officers and other resources.
What parents can do about school safety
Some of the questions parents have about school safety may include how school lock-in exercises are implemented, what other plans are in place to help children stay safe, and how to resolve questions or complaints. anxiety of BOYS about school safety. Here are some ways parents can assess how well their child’s school is prepared for an emergency.
Do your own research. Not all school districts or safety experts agree on the best types of safety drills to prepare for emergencies. Read about school safety and security experts, compare different methods, and talk to your child’s school about any questions you may have.
For more information, parents should meet about school safety, read the National School Safety and Security Services page at «Parents and school safety».
To take action
Once you know the basics of school safety, ask about the specific safety exercises that take place at your child’s school. Ask the school principal and safety officials what plans they have for emergencies, such as fire , bomb threats and armed intruders.
Feel free to ask questions. Do school officials and security experts meet regularly to discuss security procedures? Do you do safety exercises at different times of the day? Do lifeguards have a school map?
If your child’s school does not have a consistent, detailed, and specific plan, contact the school district or the state Department of Education to request that a school safety and security plan be established for your child’s school.
Talk to your children
Find out what your child knows about locking exercises. Ask them if they know what these exercises are and if they know what to do in an emergency as a dangerous intruder.
If your child has not yet participated in an exercise, take time to explain what they might experience during a blocking exercise so that they know what to expect. Make sure your child has these exercises, such as fire drills, just to practice safety in the extremely unlikely event that someone dangerous enters the school.
If participating in school lockout exercises worries your child about terrifying news events like the Sandy Hook shootings, find out what they think, what they think they know, and why they are afraid or worried.
Young children often have many misconceptions about the things they see and hear. You may need to clear up any confusion your child may have about school shootings or blocking exercises.
What schools can do about school safety
Schools, in turn, should work with local law enforcement agencies and school safety experts to assess safety procedures to ensure they have all the elements they need to protect children in the event of a dangerous emergency. If they don’t have a plan, they should work to implement one right away.
Other measures that schools can take to ensure the safety and security of the school:
- Install a main entrance, train staff to greet and challenge strangers and take other measures to restrict and control access to the building, says Trump.
- Collaborate with reputable school safety experts, with extensive experience and recommendations from other clients, to assess the soundness of your school’s safety and security measures and school violence prevention programs.
- Make sure the first responders have school plans in case of an emergency.
- Urges elected officials to increase funding for school safety, emergency planning and measures to prevent school violence.