Today we had a lockdown drill at my school. I quickly hurried my children to a corner, locked my door and turned off the light. I placed some furniture in front of our hiding place. Shushed my children and pulled them closer to me. They asked what we were doing and I whispered that we were practicing in case there was danger in or near our school.
I could tell from the look on their faces they were afraid and confused. One cried. One covered their face. Many were antsy and couldn’t sit still. One had a nervous cough they couldn’t stop. One asked about one of our friends who was out with another teacher.
It lasted 15-20 minutes. It felt like an hour. I had to give many reminders to try to be still and quiet. I texted my husband because, to be honest, I was scared myself.
When it was over we circled up to talk about it. I explained the purpose of a lockdown and the difference between a drill and real life. I explained how a lockdown is different from a fire or a severe weather drill. They offered ideas about bad guys, weapons, and guns. They told me they were scared, worried, angry, and bored. They wanted to know how to distract themselves and be quiet. How they’re supposed to think about happy stuff when they’re afraid.
I reassured them that they were safe. To look for helpers and follow directions quickly when a lockdown happens.
I tell this story because people need to know what educators are thinking when we have lockdown drills. Do I tell them my real plan if we were in real danger? Do I tell them it would never happen to us? (That could very well be a lie.)
Do you know that when setting up my classroom I made sure we had a hiding spot? Did you know that I made sure I had furniture I could use to barricade our door nearby and easy to move quickly? Did you know that I am terrified when I forget my key at home?
Did you know every day educators think about where to run? Where to hide? We consider if we would fight or not?