Are School Lock down Drills Effective

In a real life or death situation, would you be prepared?

Aubrey Harrell, Editorial Board

None of us are strangers to school drills. Since kindergarten, the protocols designed to protect us in event of immense danger have been ingrained into our heads. In light of recent events in Parkland, Florida however, drills, more specifically lockdown drills, have come into question about their effectiveness. We all know the protocols. But in a real situation will this be enough?

Do Drills Work

While lockdown drills in schools still have a wide berth to improve, there’s really no denying that they’re imperative to have. It’s deeply important that students have a general idea of what they should do if a dangerous individual enters their school. While these drills are extremely necessary, unfortunately in a real event different immense panic and other factors could potentially result in the practiced drills being ineffective. In the tragic case of Parkland, the perpetrator, Nicholas Cruz, was a former student who was familiar with the school’s drills and set off the fire alarm to lure out students. Drills are vital, but there is room for improvement. When asked if she thought drills would be effective enough in a real situation, Oakton teacher Ms. Hannah Moore stated that “They would be helpful in the sense that students have an idea of what’s expected of them, however, most students and staff don’t take drills seriously enough. Therefore, students aren’t really thinking about what they would do if the drill was real. In an active situation, there would be a lot of panics, and students may not know what to do.”

 

Should Drills be Altered

Right now, the procedure for FCPS schools is to lock the classroom’s door, cover up the classroom’s window, turn off the lights, and sit in a corner of a classroom away from the door in complete silence. While these are good steps in avoiding harm, what happens if a shooter strikes at a time where a student isn’t inside a classroom? Like in a hallway, in the cafeteria, or outside the main building? Moore stated that “ I don’t think what we do during drills should be changed, but we might need an advisory or assembly lesson where we detail what students can do in these bad situations. As of now, students don’t know what to do if they’re in Cougar Towne or at lunch. We should open up a discussion about student concerns and offer more instruction on what to do in these situations.”

 

The thought of something like this seems unthinkable, but unfortunately, we’ve been reminded yet again just how real, horrifying, and tragic school shootings are. We can only hope that an impactful change will arrive soon in the form of stricter gun laws, but until then it’s important that us students know the best ways to keep ourselves safe.