Our New Normal :: School Lockdown Drills


When I became a mom and held my daughter in my arms for the first time, I took a vow to protect her and support her unrelentingly and to do all that I could to make her always feel safe. As she got older and gained two more siblings, I realized I can’t always be there to protect them from everything bad that happens. There are some things they must learn on their own.

In the world we currently live in, the threat of his or her siblings not coming home is a possibility.

apple sitting on an empty school desk
Photo by JJ Thompson on Unsplash

My children’s school participates in lockdown drills, as do most of the schools in the United States. I was having a meeting with one of the teachers when the office assistant told us we needed to close the door because they were in the processes of having a lockdown drill. As a parent, my first thoughts are about my kids and how afraid they must feel to be crouched down under a desk or hiding in the corner of their classroom, trying to meld into the paint.

It was heartbreaking — and it was not even real — sitting there talking quietly for 20 to 30 minutes, wondering when it would be over. After time passed, the principal came in and told us the drill was over and that we could go back to our routine.

Our routine? How do these children go back to acting like 30 minutes ago you didn’t just ask them not to talk too loud, to shut the door and lock it, or to hide in the bathroom because the classroom was locked? These are children ages five through 17, huddled in corners of the room or inside cabinets, and trying to be silent. These drills have become the new normal for our children.

Despite the choices you have made for your child — be it homeschool, public, or private school — all our children are affected. This situation could arise at any time or place. The key to being prepared is to make sure you have a plan. Is this drill proactive or is it possibly causing more harm than good? I believe it is best to know that your child is fully prepared should anything occur, whether it’s a fire, tornado, or active shooter.

Should you discuss this with your child? Absolutely! This drill is not meant to incite fear but rather help to make sure all students understand safety protocols. You should ask the school administration if there is a drill that your child is participating in, and what can you do to help.

It breaks my heart that my eight year old knows, in order to save her life, she may need to throw books or chairs to keep her and her classmates safe. Do both my teens know that hallways are the least safe place to be should a school shooting occur? Do they know the “good” hiding space to be if a shooter is on campus? Sadly, yes.

Do I wish I could put them in a bubble and keep them home to ensure their safety? Yes, but that is unrealistic, so I must put all my faith in my children’s school to keep them safe every day that I drop them off in the morning. I know the dedicated faculty and staff can and will protect our children because my children have become their children. We all have the same goal in mind at the end of the day: to come home safely to our families.

Talk with your child about what his or her school’s procedure is and what your child can do to help it run smoothly. Advise future parents whose children are starting school next year for the first time to beware of this this and talk with their children as well.

Have you had this discussion with your child, and what was the outcome? What advice do you have to share with fellow parents?


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