Are Lockdowns Safe?


Do lockdown drills increase student safety?

The recent school shooting on February 14, 2018 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida has sparked serious debates about gun control as well as the safety of lockdown procedures on school grounds.
A typical lockdown drill, also known as “Code Red,” involves all students and teachers hiding in a corner behind a locked door, until they receive a “Code Green” clearance from an administrator or law enforcement officer. These drills are designed to prepare students and staff to react quickly during an actual active shooter or other dangerous situation.
At Canton High School, seniors Abby Krudwig and Hilary Anderson said they feel safe during a lockdown drill, calling the procedure “pretty solid” and “moderately safe.”
Despite students feeling safe within the community, many students around the country feel unsatisfied and unsafe with the current lockdown procedure at their schools.
In an editorial written by 15 year old Daina Kalnina, she writes her strong opinion on the lockdown procedures, calling them “endanger[ing],” outlining the ways in which lockdowns should be changed. Rather than making students sit in a corner to “wait and die,” she encourages students and teachers to take initiative, barricading doors and moving around, as moving targets are harder to get than others.
Daina Kalnina is not alone in this argument. Greg Crane, a SWAT officer, told ABC News that the lockdowns are “not sufficient,” believing that the ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate) program provides more safety for students and faculty rather than the traditional lockdown procedure.
ALICE is different than traditional lockdown procedures insofar as it involves the students and faculty to take initiative, rather than waiting for an authoritative figure to rescue them.
ALICE calls for people to attempt to disarm the threat, whether that may be throwing an object directly at the shooter, or barricading oneself or the area for additional defense.
The most profound difference between ALICE and traditional lockdown procedures is the idea of evacuating the scene when it is safe to move, rather than the traditional lockdown system where students and faculty remain in the classroom huddled in a corner.
On ALICE’s website, they conclude that the program is beneficial for all students as young as elementary schoolers to adults in college.