Are M-A Students Prepared for an Actual Lockdown?

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During Flex Time M-A gives lessons on lockdown drills to students and staff. This year, the district replaced physical lockdown drills with a webinar on Zoom. 

According to Administrative Vice Principal Nick Muys, the county implemented these new guidelines because of the global pandemic. He said, “It was really post-pandemic that we saw that change, and we obviously didn’t have any opportunity to practice the lockdown, therefore we got used to doing stuff like this online.” The trauma students experienced from the physical aspect of a lockdown drill also contributed to the change. Muys said, “We had an all-administration meeting and went over the five emergency procedures and received guidance from the Director of Student Safety at the county, Mason Hendricks, who was fairly clear that we wanted to be informed on the trauma students get from physical lockdowns.” 

In the webinar, administrators review best practices, such as locking doors, building barricades, closing blinds, and other safety measures. The idea is that if students hear these instructions repeatedly, the practices will become second nature. That way, we can eliminate decision-making and make everything straightforward. Muys said, “In general, we just have to teach students that there are certain principles that you should follow. And we have a lot of new staff and students, so it’s important for us to go over those procedures.” 

No matter the technique for lockdown drills, the purpose is to prepare students and staff to secure themselves in dangerous situations. Some students may memorize and practice these skills and pay attention during the lessons, while other students theoretically assume that they are prepared for this situation and that there is no need to focus on the lessons. 

To test how many students at M-A actually know what to do in these dangerous situations, I asked 40 M-A students five questions on lockdown drills and situations involving an intruder. 

1. What would you do if you were walking the halls and there was a sudden alert of an active shooter?

The correct answer would be to find the nearest classroom on campus. If you were near any exit on campus, then you could get off campus. Most students got this question incorrect, while only 26.7% had correct responses, the incorrect answers when I asked them in person, had responses such as “run wherever I am” and “go into the nearest bathroom.”

2. When there’s an alert of an active shooter, during class, what do you do first?

The correct answer would be to close windows, barricade the door, and remain silent while finding a place to hide. The majority of students knew what to say, although 36.7% wrote answers like, “I would get out of the classroom and run” and “call someone.”

3.  What do you do if you are in a bathroom while there is the alert of an active shooter?

The correct answer would be to lock the doors, turn off the lights, and get on top of a toilet to hide in the stall. Most students answered correctly, while those who did not answered along the lines of “run away” and “leave the bathroom and find the nearest classroom.”

4.  What do you do if the intruder enters your classroom?

The correct answer would be to have a plan beforehand in case the intruder enters, like an attack plan. The students who answered incorrectly said answers like “jump out of the window” and “play dead.”

5. What do you do if an hour has passed since the active shooter alert and you have not heard anything?

The correct answer would be to stay hidden and wait until further notice. Most students answered correctly; the incorrect responses included “call family members or go on my phone” and “leave.” 

Angeleah Fayette is a sophomore at M-A in her first year of journalism. She wants to write about issues she feels passionate about and has opinions on. She enjoys reading, swimming, dancing, and hanging out with friends.

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