No More Sitting Ducks

Grace Smith, Writer

Remember when we all had to lock the doors, turn off the lights, and huddle in a corner to have a lock-down drill?  In response to the heightened awareness against school shootings in America, the district has decided to change its lockdown policy. The update is something a bit more defensive.

Assistant Principal Greg Garris says “we can’t be sitting ducks” if there is an intruder or active shooter in the building. This is why the staff went through A.L.I.C.E. training during the 2014-2015 school-year. Worthington Police mimicked life-threatening situations while the staff reacted to “shots” of airsoft pellets. With two options – fight or flight – staff members had to develop and implement a plan in a short amount of time. Garris said he immediately tried to hide under a lunch room table. Because hiding is such a practical response, the district has established “secret safe spots” for classes to retreat to in an emergency. See our article on A.L.I.C.E. training for more information.

The school is no longer sugarcoating emergency warnings by announcing a “level 3 lockdown.” Instead, they will bluntly announce “There is an intruder in the west wing.” This will allow time for classes to react, go to the safe spots, and stay informed regarding the location of the intruder.

In addition, during two 3A/3B schedules, students and teachers had intentional conversations to discuss how to react in emergency situations. These discussions should inspire staff and students to come up with creative solutions like blocking doors or escaping the building. Once the change in policy becomes more familiar, students and staff will be prepared for potentially disastrous situations.