Tonight, two days shy of my forty-sixth birthday, I participated in my first ever lockdown drill.
Instructors at my school recently participated in ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate) training, which is described on the website as a more proactive method of dealing with a violent intruder.
Proactive, as in doing more than sitting quietly and hoping you don’t get shot.
We were warned about the drill and told what to do: shut the lights off, lock the door, and stay out of sight. Not under the desks, which are in plain view of the untinted window. Two people on either side of the door grabbed heavy objects to ambush the would-be intruder should they be able to break the lock and get in. The rest of us lined up against the wall next to the door, where we couldn’t be seen. The whole thing took about five minutes.
Since Sandy Hook in 2012, school shootings have always been one of my biggest fears regarding my kids. The schools have many lockdown drills during the year, and some hardcore security fencing has been put up in many of the elementary and middle schools in the area. Measures are being taken to protect our kids; it’s not that which worries me. What petrifies me is the fact that I have two kids with unpredictable behaviors and I have no clue how they would react to an active shooter situation. The drills they have at the schools are controlled; there is no loud gunfire and people screaming. Everyone is (semi) relaxed; tonight people were laughing and joking around. You can do lockdown drills all you want, but we all know that if someone walks into a school firing a gun, the atmosphere wouldn’t remain calm for long. Especially not with kids like mine
I’m talking about kids who need sound reducing headsets to get through an assembly at school because they can’t stand the loud clapping and noise of a crowd. Kids with sensory issues. Kids who freak out if they are overstimulated. Kids who might do a limp noodle and refuse to move because they are just flat out too scared. Kids who won’t remember to, or simply cannot remain quiet for however long it takes to hide from a violent intruder. Some don’t have that ability. Some are non-verbal and will scream and cry if they are scared-just the opposite of what they are needed to do.
What about evacuating? If there was a need to run out, what about the kids that can’t run? Or walk? Or need someone to guide them through the chaos and keep them calm?
What would happen to these kids, to my kids, if God forbid a violent intruder ever did break through the metal barriers and attacked? These are the things that keep me up at night, and there is no answer for it. All we can do is keep drilling them, and pray that an active shooter situation doesn’t happen.