Posted: October 27, 2014 in Education

9-11-09 School Lockdown WEB 2009

My school has recently been reminding students of our fire drill and lockdown procedures.

I have introduced the documentary Bowling for Columbine into my grade 10 course this year. If you are unfamiliar with the film, Michael Moore (director, writer, narrator) aims to get to the bottom of why gun violence in the U.S is far more apparent in comparison to other nations with similar violent histories. Part of his documentary looks at the Columbine shooting, which took place in Colorado in 1999.

I often reference this now out-of-date massacre (since grade 9’s are now born in 2000) to make students understand that intruders into a school can happen anywhere…even Canada. My school, as it happens, is out in the middle of nowhere – so we joke that if an intruder wanted to attack, we’d have plenty of time to hide because we’d see them coming from a mile away. Nevertheless, we take our drills seriously.

For lockdowns (intruder in the school), we are to hide away from the eye line of the window attached to the classroom door, shut off the lights, lock the door, and remain quiet. It all seems very obvious. If students are in the halls during this time, they are to head into the nearest classroom and if students are in the bathroom, they are to lock themselves in a stall and crouch on top of the toilet seat. Students are to stay where they are until it is announced over the P.A system that classes can be resumed.

Students typically treat these drills with a high level of seriousness and respect, which is good. The scary thought is that you simply never know when something may happen and it is obviously best to be prepared.

I have been prepping my unit on Bowling for Columbine and in doing so I have been watching the school surveillance tapes of Columbine during the shooting – they are horrific to watch. Students ask: “The classroom doors are not bulletproof, couldn’t they easily get in if they wanted to?”
Sure – the intruder can look into a dark classroom and will see backpacks strewn across the floor – they aren’t dumb, they won’t just assume the whole school is on a field trip, but the best tactic for survival is time. When we lock the doors (which are reinforced and difficult to get through) we buy ourselves time for police to arrive and that is the best thing we can do.


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