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Lock Down

March 3, 2010

today my daughters high school was on lock down.

some brilliant child there decided to fill a water bottle with gun powder and light it.


it blew up. obviously sounding like shots were fired and quickly sending the school into a frenzy.

brent heard about it from the company next door to the church. he called me, i then called the school and texted kass. no response from anyone. i grabbed my keys and was heading out the door when kass finally texted me that everything was ok.

we talked for a bit, shared details, feelings and frustrations.

i then went to post an update about this on twitter, only to find…


the child never even contacted her parents, people. just goes to show how much she loves you all.


i twittered about it anyway and i got to use the word “perp” in one of my tweets. ive always wanted to use that word…for the right reason.

ok…the real point of this post is this…

all the students were ushered into the gym during lock down. logical enough. or is it? dont “perps” (ooo, im good) know this is the procedure. what if their plan is to get everyone in one spot so they can really cause some chaos. if they have a vendeta against anyone then theyd surely have easy access at that point.

im not so certain this is the best safety plan.

what about you? do you know why this is procedure? would you do it differently?

27 Comments leave one →
  1. March 3, 2010 12:12 pm

    This is the procedure for a couple of important reasons. First off, it let the school get a headcount easily, and keep track of everyone’s whereabouts. Second, once they are there, it helps insure their safety by not having them move around the school.

    Thirdly (and I hate to say this) tactically, it’s easier to defend one fixed position than dozens of classrooms spread all over the building. It allows for concentrations of assets, whether they are police, medical or rescue.

    We’ll have a school go into lockdown every couple of months. It’s usually over something stupid, but I have to say I’m impressed and comforted by the skill and dedication the school staff has during those times.

    • March 3, 2010 4:37 pm

      but doesnt an immediate lockdown ensure no one is moving around the school? i guess thats my biggest concern. i said further down in reply to darla that at least there would be record, via class schedule, as to where each student is at that exact time by way of class. that to me makes more sense.

      what if this kid was truly serious and he knew that ‘lockdown’ actually meant ‘transport to the gym’ and he had prepared there, while the whole school was inside, something catastrophic?

      thats where my mind goes in this. and, sadly, i dont think its far fetched either.

  2. March 3, 2010 1:44 pm

    Ohhh scary. So glad she and the other kids are safe. It’s those kind of kids I wanna slap. I can’t imagine having to deal with this sort of stuff when I was in school.

    • March 3, 2010 4:33 pm

      ha! my hubs had words about this little bomb maker too


  3. March 3, 2010 1:53 pm

    omgosh, I’m sitting here feeling ILL and have the worst kind of chills ever. Not ashamed to say I might have cried just bit too. The paragraph about you not hearing from her, grabbing your keys and going… ugh. sick.

    Mike’s reply makes a lot of sense, but still…. you just wish there was a better way. I’m like you, I instantly think of it from that angle… because really, they could bait them all into one place and strike that way. I hate hate hate that this is the way we think these days, hate that this has become something we have to think about.

    I’m picturing the school and remembering myself there 10 years ago (seriously?!) and wondering how I would have felt. When I was in HS Columbine and the Sprinfield Oregon incident happened. I remember crying, being afraid for a time to actually go to school. But to actually have a scare like that happen…. ugh.

    One of my worst fears for my kids in school. 😐

    • March 3, 2010 1:55 pm

      P.S. How was Kass once she got home?

      • March 3, 2010 4:27 pm

        kass was fine. in fact, she was kinda entertained by it all. shes a CSI girl. loves suspense. and she found quite amusing all the overweight officers walking in with their value meal and sodas questioning the students.


        • March 4, 2010 8:58 pm

          I felt like a bad adult because I found her tweets so funny…

  4. March 3, 2010 2:16 pm

    See now when I was in Middle School right after Columbine happened we had a bomb threat on the school and they took us outside to the football field. I suppose this might be a little more difficult if there’s a bunch of snow on the ground but it seems safer to me. You are away from any buildings and it’s a more open area so if anyone does start anything you have a quick escape but you are still together for a easy head count and easy access. Just my thoughts on it.

    Still…scary stuff.


    P.S. like half the student population called their parents afterwards and went home. I certainly did.

    • March 3, 2010 4:28 pm

      same here. most the kids went home. as soon as the parents hear of this sorta thing they dont take any chances. dont blame them, really.

  5. March 3, 2010 2:18 pm

    *by easy access I was referring to Mike’s comment about medical or police or fire officials

  6. Heidi permalink
    March 3, 2010 2:48 pm

    I live in San Diego in a suburb town of it anyways. We are 4 minutes from the Mexican border, and “lockdowns” are VERY common here.

    Just a few years ago, we had a student kill his teacher and injure a few others…. homemade pipe bombs (in which are common), and fights.

    I would have done the same grab my keys and run for my kids. BUT I also now, in a crisis, I would want my kids at school.

    In the last two years school districts here are like clock work, lockdown, a mass phone call to the parents, kids shuffled to the football field for a count. I know with a shadow of the doubt, my kids will be and are safe.

    Now I do tell my kids to text me with a certain text to alert me.

    • March 3, 2010 4:29 pm

      yes on the texting!! i definitely had words with kass on that subject 😯


      • Heidi permalink
        March 3, 2010 5:22 pm

        I suggest to give her a 3 number combo like ex: 123. So when you see that number you know. Stop and get to the high school. With the number combo there’s no confusion. That has worked well also when Col used walk home. If she felt dangered, the number combo worked well, I was right there.

  7. March 3, 2010 3:07 pm

    we have been on lockdown at our highschool several times. always scary! our school has it automated to call your phone and leave a message. our kids are locked down in what ever room they are in, and no one moves anywhere as the police come through all doors, dogs are brought in. the last time they allowed them to change classes, with every possible adult in the hall security called in, and police.

    My bottom line is i don’t think they are safe, and not enough is done to insure the safety before a lock down is needed.

    • March 3, 2010 4:31 pm

      i like this procedure. this is what makes sense to me. lockdown means lock’em down right there. at least officials in the school would know where everyone is supposed to be according to their class schedules. they can be sent for easily too.

      but i dont know why there are different procedures there and here. it seems like it would be more uniformed, structured.


  8. March 3, 2010 3:53 pm

    i can’t imagine what was going through your head (and your heart) when you didn’t hear back from kass. i’m glad everyone is okay…

    and it seems like it’d make more sense to direct all the kids outside than to a location within the building… but what do i know?

    • March 3, 2010 4:32 pm

      initially i was very concerned. then when i didnt hear back from anyone my heart started pounding to the point of pain, honestly. then…i beat kass for not texting me.


      • March 3, 2010 4:40 pm

        i bet you give a mean beatdown, too.

        • March 3, 2010 4:42 pm

          only on tuesdays.

          and lucky for kass…that was yesterday.


  9. March 3, 2010 5:29 pm

    In high school, they would move us all to the football stadium. Each teacher had an assigned section for their students. It never seemed quite like the best way, but there probably isn’t really one.

    It is quite concerning–the Columbine shooters waited until everyone was in the cafeteria for lunch.

    Now in college, they keep everyone right where they are and send out mass text messages to alert everyone (which are not nearly as quick as they should be).

    Last spring, there was a suspected shooter on campus. Word spread quickly thanks to facebook and twitter, but no one knew what the hell to do. I immediately called my mom to let her know (I can’t even imagine what she was feeling in that moment, being over an hour away from me). Various police officers and campus staff directed a bunch of us to the student center, then put it on lock down. When he was found, the suspected shooter was in the next room from where I was sitting, separated merely by glass doors.

    It turned out to be someone walking around with a paintball gun and mask. But the whole event highlighted that despite all of the efforts and advancements in light of events like Virginia Tech, we’re still very, very far away from establishing an effective plan of action.

    • March 4, 2010 7:03 pm

      let me just tell you, there is nothing worse than the school calling. if im with brent and either school calls my phone…i hand it to him. my heart stops every time!

  10. March 3, 2010 7:03 pm

    We used to have bomb threats at school a few times a year, and this was back in the 80s before school violence was even vaguely common place, at least down here. I won’t go into why my school had bomb threats because like most things, it’s complicated.

    Once there actually was a bomb that was defused before anything happened.

    Like Kass, I always thought it was entertaining more than scary.

    We used to have several places around the school where we had to gather, purely logistical as there was 1,400 students, and the same group of students would never gather in the same place – there was some system that worked out who had to go where, to minimise the possibility of the same people being in the same place each time, for exactly the reason you mention.

    So there you go…someone thought how you’re thinking and devised a complicated system to get around it. But I dare say they hadn’t thought of it before the first threat.

    • March 4, 2010 7:04 pm

      i like that they switched it up a bit. thats a great idea.

      the kid has been caught btw. and charged in the federal court here. too bad for him.

  11. March 4, 2010 6:45 pm

    In our system I think it depends on the type of threat. If it’s an intruder each class is secluded in their own room. If it’s before the kids are to be in class then they are all sent to one area. Glad your child and the school was okay.

    • March 4, 2010 6:58 pm

      kass is fine.

      the ‘perp’ 😉 is being charged in the federal court. lil guy is only 16.

      so sad.

  12. March 10, 2010 6:14 am

    When I started high school we had a few bomb threats, and so fire/emergency drills became more frequent. However, the whole school (all 800 of us) were required to congregate on the school oval, away from all the buildings. I always thought it was strange though, because it was quite obvious that it was the assigned meeting place and if anyone wanted to do anything massive, they’d just have to plan it for the oval.
    I just thank God i’m not at school in the current climate! (and pray for the kids I don’t have yet).

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