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Thursday, September 29, 2016

Another School Year, Another Round Of Lockdown Drills

The new school year is about to begin, so principals around the country are planning the first of many lockdown drills for their students and staff.

These are not the fire drills of our youth.

“You teach your students to go to the back of the classroom, sit on the floor and be totally silent,” says Becky Young. “Police walk through the building. They try to trick you by knocking on the door.”

Young teaches seventh-grade English at McCormick Middle School in Wellington, Ohio, which is about 75 miles west of Chardon High School, where a student opened fire in the cafeteria last February, killing three kids and injuring three others. However, the lockdown drills at McCormick, as is the case at most schools, started years earlier. It has been my experience that most teachers can tell you immediately that the Columbine High School massacre was in 1999.

A few years ago, McCormick teachers were instructed to cover the windows on their classroom doors. Some used the white roll paper that cheerleaders use for banners, but Young ordered a brightly colored sign to block the large rectangular window on her door.

“The gunman would see only white,” she said, “but my students see ‘Welcome.'”

Repeatedly, she mentions a gunman as we talk about school security. She sighs when I point this out.

“Yeah, I know,” she says. “I think about it a lot now. So do our students. They mention ‘gunman’ a lot, particularly after drills.”

They also pepper her with questions about various scenarios.

Question: “What happens if you’re in the bathroom?”

Answer: “You get in a stall and stand on the toilet.”

Question: “What if classes are changing?”

Answer: “You duck into the nearest classroom.”

The lockdown drills take place at various times and in different places at the school. There’s one plan if the shooter is in the hallway, another one if the gunman is in the cafeteria and yet another if he’s in the auditorium.

Principal Tim Simpson says his school works with the local fire and police departments, which have floor plans of the school. Students and parents always know the date and time for each lockdown drill.

“There are no surprises,” Simpson says. “We don’t want students crawling under tables scared to death and texting parents. We don’t want to cause a panic.”

  • howa4x

    This is what the republican flag bearers of the NRA have given the youth of the country along with timid democrats. A complete failure to protect them. It seems that the term family values only means anti abortion but, the life of a grown child means just as much and there is no movement for them. It’s almost like saying well we’ve done our job and prevented an abortion now we wash or hands of it, the kid is on their own. As for the states who won’t even put the slightest restrictions on the purchase of guns or ammo the blood of these massacres is on the governors door and hands. It’s also up to the gun owners who are reasonable to lobby inside the NRA to stop it from being so irrational. Currently they oppose any restriction. We can’t arm every kid going to school as some would suggest. If we did the slightest arguement could produce a gun fight due to the immaturity of the students. We need reasonable restrictions on purchases like preventing mental patients, kids under 18 and others from access to automatic weapons.
    I live in a state that banned automatic weapons 20 yrs ago and the kids are not afraid of going to school, or a late night movie. They were not tramatized by the thought of a random shooter coming to school since access to these weapons is tightly controlled with extensive background checks and age limitations to purchase
    . It’s really up to the parents. What kind of world do you want your child to grow up in, one of fear or one of safey?

    • ralphkr

      I find your comment “I live in a state that banned automatic weapons 20 yrs ago” very interesting since I live in a country that passed a law in the 1930s that does not allow anyone to have an automatic weapon without a federal license (not exactly banning them but pretty close as the license takes months to get and was very expensive). I was a deputy in the 1950s and even though the department did have a WW2 era Tommy gun only the Sheriff and chief deputy were allowed to use it because the license cost about $250 back then. By the way, my country is the United States and, to this day, we still are not allowed to have an automatic weapon unless federally licensed. It sounds to me that you must live in Italy howa4x although I thought Italy banned automatic weapons much more than 20 years ago.

      • howa4x

        Well Ralph what planet do you live on. Most states have limited background checks and gun shows in some states have none. Shooters in Arizona, colorado, Wva, all had access to automatic weapons and one bought 6000 rounds from the internet. The WVa shooter was undergoing psycological counseling, and walked into a gun store and walked out with multiple automatic weapons, no questions asked,and went back to school and went on a killing rampage. If there is a federal law to license automatic weapons why can anyone get them? The Arizona shooter had a warning on him and he still got access to automatic weapons. The current shoooter in Wisconsin had access to automatic weapons and he belonged to a hate group. Don’t you think the Feds would monitor that before that granted a license. The NRA has intimidated so many elected officials that very few stood up to them and they want no restrictions for anybody. So what are you talking about. Maybe in the 50’s it was like that but today not so.Think back to Colombine and the two teenagers bought the bullets at Walmart.
        I don’t live in Italy I live in a state where both the Republicans and Democrats stood up to the irrational NRA and banned automatic weapons with overwelming support from the citizens, and law enforcement.

        • ralphkr

          Obviously, howa4x, you are exceptionally unknowledgeable of US Federal gun law. The US put the law regulating the ownership of automatic weapons in force in the 1930s and the only changes since then have been tightening requirements. It now takes a minimum of 90 days to get a license to own an automatic weapon due to the extremely stringent requirements and the tendency for the regulators to return the application to the applicant for the slightest error such as forgetting punctuation. By the way, if there were any automatic weapons at Columbine and other mass killings they were in the hands of Law Enforcement Officers. The current Wisconsin shooter may have had access to automatic weapons but he used a 9mm semi-automatic sidearm such as LEOs and the military carry and the Colorado theatre shooter did not have any automatic weapons with him but used a pump shotgun plus semiautomatic rifle and sidearm. The 2009 NY killer used 9mm and .45 semiautomatic sidearms to kill 14 people. 2007 in VA .22 and 9mm semiautomatic sidearms used to kill 32 people. 1984 San Ysidro, CA, McDonalds shooter killed 21 people using 2 semiautomatic weapons and pump shotgun. Elsewhere I have posted a listing of 12 mass killings and the killers did not use an automatic weapon in any of them.

          You ask how do you get an automatic weapon? Simple, you stake out the gym where LEOs work out and pop their trunk while they are out of sight of their vehicle and, if it is a SWAT officer, you may acquire a really nice automatic weapon. I also remember being offered a WW2 M3 Greasegun for $18 by a college class mate of my daughter about 35 years ago. It does not matter how many laws are passed regulating firearms they shall have absolutely no effect upon the illegal trade in firearms which, by the very definition, is not law abiding.

          • howa4x

            There has been a lot of media coverage on gun shows as the source of most semi/automatic weapons and not just LEOs.Most of these gun shows don’t do the required background checks, and are a source of restricted weapons. There are large illegal gun operations across the country where you can purchase any type of weapon you want to. Gangs in Newark NJ use AK-47’s and they are not comming from someones trunk. This country is awash in illegal guns, and legal ones. We have more guns per person than any county in the world including war zones.

            The NRA dogma for yrs was that if everyone is armed then we would be safer, but that has never been true. We can’t send every kid to school with a weapon could we? Should we warn people to be armed before the movie starts so then we can have shootouts for real instead of on celluloid? The fact of the matter is that mentally unstable people have access, whether legal or illegal ,to guns. These people can act out their fantasies of mass killing because we as a country will only put the slightest restriction on gun ownership, and politicians live in fear of the wrath of the NRA. The fact that we have mass murder , dosen’t scare them as much as that irrational organization. How many massacres does it take before decent gun owners lobby inside your own organization for gun sanity.

            I’m not going to quibble with you on what caliber of guns they are using for these killings since you seem to be the expert, but I am going to challange you to prove to me that with all this gun ownership we as a country are much safer, and that every kid and every adult can be in a public place without trepidation.

          • ralphkr

            OK, so now we are on the same page, I think, and talking about semiautomatic weapons instead of automatic weapons. As someone who has used both types I can assure you that there is a world of difference between the two. Automatic weapons keep firing as long as the trigger is depressed while a semiautomatic fires once each time the trigger is depressed. I pointed out in my last post that I was offered a M3 greasegun (a WW2 automatic submachinegun) by a class mate of my daughter about 35 years ago as well as how the gangbangers in Southern California have been getting some of their great weapons. Our only saving grace as those gangbangers invariably are really lousy shots. There are more than enough laws on the books now that would alleviate the problem if there was some way to enforce them. Unfortunately, for some inexplicable reason lawbreakers do not seem to obey those “gun free” signs posted at schools, hospitals, theaters, and malls. As you said, there ARE illegal gun operations all across the US but, the operative word here is “illegal”. How is passing any law going to shut down an operation that is already illegal?

            Yep, there would be a decrease in homicides and suicides if all guns could magically vanish from the US (we would still lead the industrialized world in violent deaths by sharp or blunt object because we are the most violent people in an advanced nation and have been for many decades). Since the star-ship Enterprise with its ability to scan and beam up objects is fictional I fear that there is absolutely no way to make our guns disappear except from the hands of law abiding citizens. I saw a report the other day about Australia where the government has disarmed the citizens stating that armed robberies have gone up by 44%. Evidently the crooks don’t obey the gun laws there either. Oh, wait, they are law breakers aren’t they.

          • howa4x

            When we answer to the question of how we keep guns away from lawbreakers , there will be no need for everybody else joining the arms race. 1st off any illegal gun shows or car trunk sales need to be reported. If we don’t want govt intervening in our lives then we as citizens have to take an active role in ferreting out these operations. The NRA has a few hundred thousand members, and could be a big help in alerting law enforcement where gun shows aren’t doing background checks, or where that a stream of illegal guns are coming into your area.
            Gang bangers don’t leave the comfort of their turf. Like the early days of the mafia the communities they thrive in don’t have a good rapport wiht the police, and live in fear of these kids. The main reason for all the killing is the distribution of illegal drugs , but after a 40 yr war started by Nixon we are no where near getting a handle on this problem. We have always approached this as a supply problem and its really a consumption one. If we spent more money on drug treatment and rehab, or if judges sentences youthful offenders to get treatment and finish high school we would be farther down the line, and there would be less fear. We have 2 million people in prison and that is not economically sustainable since each one cost over 50k/yr.
            The crime drop that we are in has statistically more to do with the legalization of abortion than any police strategy or poliferation of guns in the population. More teenage women had the ability to finish high school and not produce an unwanted child. The drop in the crime rate is due to less people in general. so everyone running around wanting to end abortion ought to thnk twice about the ramifications of legions of unwanted kids

            We have to think outside the box and stop saying the same things over and over from the left and right. It’s old and people have become hardened in their position so compromise on this issue of guns never goes anywhere.The NRA sees any restrictions put on gun ownership as a defeat , and the left is unaware that there are sensible sportsman who like to target shoot and hunt. So the dialogue has to start with that and look for sensible compromise.It is not an all or nothing debate, and there is room for change around the edges. The starting point should really be who under any circumstances should not own a gun, and then stratagies can be developed by all sides to keep our families and children safe.

  • The end result of years of brainwashingby the NRA and a twisted interpretation of the intent of the Second Amendment may, indeed, be a nation of paranoid schizophrenics afraid to step out of their houses without a semi-automatic weapon to defend themselves against their evil fellow Americans. All for an extra buck…

  • onedonewong

    If they were honest they would made the students watch a D&R abortion procedure which kills more than 1,000,000 kids a year. They are far far more likely to experience than a random shooting .
    Remember columbine and all the other mass shooting all have 1 thing in common the criminals all had a public school education. In which morality, manners and respect are no longer taught

  • wahoo99

    People who are NUTS should not be allowed to purchase weapons, you see a shrink, no weapons for you until you complete therapy.