Lock-down The Hatches

By Lamiya Khandaker

The tragic incident in Newtown, Connecticut has sparked not only gun-control debates, but also new policies in schools all over the country. Public schools are now practicing lock-down drills—procedures that schools take in the event that an armed individual has intruded into the building.

The drill goes as follows: cover the windows of the door with newspapers, shut off all lights, and then hide in a corner so as not to be seen if the supposed intruder were to pass by. This is supposed to deceive the intruder into thinking the classroom has been evacuated.

There is no doubt that the drill is a necessary precaution in spite of recent events, however, there are questionable aspects to it. A dark room and closed doors would not necessarily bar a gunman from entering a classroom.

Also, it would seem odd if every single classroom magically looked like it evacuated—any individual would realize there is something wrong with that, especially if every classroom had its lights shut off with newspapers covering the door. What happens if the supposed intruder was one of our own students? Would a lockdown really be effective then?
Despite these flaws the general student body is rather supportive of these drills. In a survey of whether students feel the lockdown drills are necessary, more than two-thirds of the hundred students polled (70 people) responded “yes.” Many feel that it’s a necessary precaution that schools should take because it’s better than nothing.

Senior Parliamentarian, Rebecca Dall’Orso says the drills are necessary because, “you never know what is going to happen. Like how we have fire drills, in case of an emergency you’ll need to know what to do if someone had a gun.” She also said that the drills don’t make her feel safer, but they make her feel more prepared in the event that something like this does happen.

It’s true that the drills are better than nothing but perhaps these safety measures could be better improved if we had a police officer stationed at the corner of every school and more alert school safety agents monitoring every entrance and who comes in. The drills aren’t perfect, but we do need them.

Richard Stein, a social studies teacher also shared his input on the drills—“I don’t know how effective they are, but in light of the Sandy Hook tragedy schools need to be more vigilant.”

Overall, teachers and students feel that it’s better to be prepared considering that shootings in schools are starting to become a more acknowledged phenomenon. But there is one thing that would make the drills perfect as suggested by Stein—“I would like the drills to only be held during sixth period, when I take lunch and am usually out of the building.”

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