The Importance of Lockdown Preparedness

In the worst case scenario, know what to do and take it seriously!

March 28, 2023

Living in a nation plagued with gun violence, it’s a common occurrence for students across the US to be wary of the real threat of school shootings. According to the New York Times, gun violence is now ranked as the highest cause of death for youth. On Tuesday, March 21, 2023 at the end of eighth period, students and staff were informed by the announcements that a real lockdown would commence. 

This came as a sudden alarm as this was the first time many people experienced a lockdown that wasn’t a planned drill. This event unfortunately left several members of our school community traumatized. However, it came with a silver lining. This drill allowed us to reevaluate our efficiency to initiate the correct protocol in order to stay safe during the case of a real emergency. 

As students, classmates, and friends who attend school daily sharing commonplace, we should all protect each other and act seriously! During lockdowns whether real, planned, or false alarm, you should always act right away as if it were a real emergency. Going into lockdown means the following: 

Janet Bajikijay

Lockdown in a Classroom: 

  1. Shut the door completely all the way, secured and locked. (If the door has a small see through glass, ensure to properly cover it) 
  2. Close all windows and pull down the blinds 
  3. Turn off all the lights 
  4. Don’t make noise, don’t talk out loud, don’t laugh (you’re not funny), and don’t yell 
  5. Gather together either in a small corner, under tables, or anywhere away from the door, windows, and anything that a bullet can pass through. Students should move to the part of the room designated as the safe zone.(This area is away from the door and out of sight from anyone who may be looking in the window.) 
  6. Make sure cell phones and electronic equipment are powered off. 
  7. Wait patiently for someone with a key to open the door. 

                                    LOCKS                        |                           LIGHTS OFF                       |                         OUT OF SIGHT 

If you are in the hallway and you hear the lockdown alert: 

Do the following based on your situation…

  1. Immediately move towards the nearest classroom that is not yet locked
  2. Move toward the nearest restroom
  3. Go into a safe place for hiding, barricade your surroundings, and arm yourself to fight back with whatever you are equipped with until first responders arrives on the scene

Lockdown in the restroom: 

  1. Turn off all lights
  2. Move into a stall and lock it. In the stall, go on top of the toilet crouched down and remain silent.

Always pay attention to your surroundings and make wise choices!

We had the opportunity to interview secondary dean Mr. Watson who shared important information to consider in the case of a real lockdown.

When asked if lockdowns will be implemented more frequently, he explains the current status. He states, “A lockdown drill is hoped to be set early next week however it is not scheduled officially. LSE lockdown drills happen twice a year; 2 mandatory drills: an Orange Alert and an Red Alert.”

Orange Lockdown Alert Drill: A secure perimeter means there is a threat around the school/outside the school.

Red Lockdown Alert Drill: This means there is a threat inside the building. 

When students and staff hear Mr. Williams formally issue the lockdown announcement, Mr. Watson clarifies what exactly we are supposed to do in the heat of the moment.

He explains, “Students are to find any classroom, bathroom, or any safe location right away. Keep in mind that classrooms may be already locked and even if you knock, teachers and students will not open the door for you. The announcement will be the voice of the executive director or designated person in position. If it’s a real one you will hear the following: Lockdown protocol this NOT a Drill, however during drills, you will hear the announcement say, Lockdown protocols this is a Drill. Students make sure to silence your phones, don’t make noise, and do not call 911 or make calls for help.” 

Mr. Watson explicitly mentions students and staff should act right away and take any notification of an emergency (drill or actual event) seriously. He justifies its purpose by saying, “Students, we ask that you encourage and talk to your peers about the seriousness of the situations we face in the world. Anytime lockdown announcements are heard, don’t ask Is it real? Go into action!”

He also shares that Lotus administrators have a special way to communicate to the police station and the Aurora Public School District immediately.

Mr. Watson mentions how there is a system in which first responders will be notified by an APS dispatch radio. It is a specific walkie-talkie different from a normal radio that can automatically communicate with APS security dispatch to make sure that police are on their way. 

In his final words with us, Mr. Watson directed his attention to address the concerns of our students and staff. He states, “Situations like this can trigger anxiety, cause you to be anxious, nervous, and terrified. The school will aim for more practice to make sure teachers, staff, and students are prepared. Muscle memory is a goal that is in hopes to be developed and built.” 

Message to all students:

Students, please be aware of serious situations. Be considerate towards these moments as you can endanger not only yourself, but others around you. We want to be prepared for any emergency situation. Despite the fact that the emotions can be overwhelming and can be traumatizing for many. 

On the very next day following our false alarm lockdown, during the early hours of Wednesday May 22, 2023 there was a school shooting at Denver East High School.

The close proximity of the event demonstrates to us that we need to be prepared at all times and not take circumstances like shootings, safety, and school alarms lightly or as a joke. Please take time to discuss this information with your classmates, teachers, and families. 

Although there were several people who sprung into action during our lockdown, many students did not take the issue seriously.

Consequences: If you do not take procedures or drills seriously and make jokes about it, there will be strict consequences. At all times students should respect drills and others surrounding them. 

Mr. Watson on behalf of Lotus apologizes for the false alarm incident. He wants students to know that you are all important and cared for by LSE faculty and staff including himself as the Dean of Student Culture. Lotus will provide resources to support you. Please reach out if you have any concerns. We’re all in this together.

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