Important Steps During School Lockdowns
We have been sharing this important step with schools for some time now, but after the Parkland and Santa Fe High School tragedies we wanted to make sure this information was more widespread.
Important Step: Make sure students that have cell phones in class have them out in front of them and turned off.
Ten years ago, this recommendation was common so the “threat” would not hear the sound of a ringing phone. This is still the case, but what has transpired in actual events recently has demanded that additional work be done to make sure all phones (except staff with silenced phones) are powered off.
Here are some of the additional reasons why this action is necessary:
1. During Parkland and Santa Fe over 58 (that we know of) students live streamed video to their social media platforms either during or right after the events.
2. Parents were texting information to students such as “I don’t care what the teacher says run out of the room right now”, “I am watching it on TV and the police say the shooter is down, so you can leave the classroom now”, and probably what bothered us the most, “I gave your phone number to the news lady so answer her call and tell her what’s going on”.
3. Due to receiving alerts, texts, live news broadcasts of the event in real time the increase of fear and panic to an already tense situation has students and staff taking high risk actions.
These are just some of the reasons why the need power down phones during lockdowns is crucial. What we hear from some school staff in response to this request is, “There is no way we could ever make that happen.” Our answer to that response is you may never get 100% compliance, but if you spend time (at least 2-3x per year) explaining to students and parents why you are asking them to take this potentially lifesaving action your compliance rate will be a lot higher than just telling them to do it and expecting they will not.
Side note one: We completely support students and staff powering on their cell phones and notifying parents their ok once law enforcement has the threat neutralized and has given the ok to do so.
Side note two: Reunification sites should NEVER be shared in advance with anyone except school leadership, local law enforcement, and the reunification site personnel. Once students, staff, and other personnel have been transported to the site, examined for injuries/shock, counted, secured in the building, and law enforcement is there making sure the site stays secure, then a public announcement can be made.