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Lightridge News

The student produced news site for Lightridge High School

Lightridge News

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Op-Ed: How efficient are lockdown drills?

Once+a+quarter%2C+Lightridge+students+practice+locking+the+school+down.
Tre Holley
Once a quarter, Lightridge students practice locking the school down.

Lockdown drills in school are a normal occurrence throughout the school year. And yes, they may benefit you in the state of emergency. But are lockdowns actually going to save you from the threat in your school?

There are many times when lockdowns prevented a tragedy at schools, but there are also many cases when lockdown drills were followed and people still died. An example of this is the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting in 2012.

Safety expert Brad Spicer wrote an article for Navigate360 which is a website about safety. In the article he explained one of the reasons that the tragedy was as devastating as it was is because the school believed that putting the school in lockdown was the only procedure that needed to happen in order for them to be safe. The school believed that the intruder couldn’t hurt them if the door was locked because that is what they had been told, which wasn’t true. In fact, a week before the tragedy the school had conducted a lockdown drill and in the end the practice didn’t really help them. Now, it is a fact that there is no procedure that guarantees complete safety when it comes to these kinds of threats, but the tragedy could’ve been prevented if they had gotten out of the school faster.

In the United States, gun violence is a major issue and needs to be taken more seriously in schools. The National Center for Education stated that from the years 2000 – 2021 there were 276 casualties in active shooter incidents in elementary and middle schools alone. In high schools, the casualty rate was 157. And the casualties per year are just increasing.

95% of schools do mandated lockdown drills every year, they vary in how often. Lightridge conducts 3-4 a year.

However, many students at Lightridge don’t even trust lockdowns and believe that just making a run for it will keep them safer than lockdowns.

“ If you’re gonna sit in a classroom with so many possible ways for an intruder to get in, it’s not really keeping you safe,” said Camden Sardool, a sophomore at Lightridge. “The reasons that lockdowns keep you safe is because the door is locked not because you’re sitting in a corner, I mean I know we do that so that way the intruder doesn’t see us, but come on, they know we’re in there”.

There are even some teachers that don’t trust them, many of them have tools to break their classroom windows with in the event of an intruder in the building.

According to Spicer, many schools prioritize aesthetics over security when it comes to constructing a school. Meaning that most of the time schools are constructed in a way to make it look nice and nothing else. So in the event that an intruder gets into the school before they can enter lockdown, there is no way for students and teachers to be safe.

Lockdowns are designed to keep the intruder from getting in but also to make it seem like the school is deserted. There is no part in a lockdown drill that helps get people out of the school, if anything, it keeps students and teachers locked up in the room hoping that the intruder doesn’t get past their door.

Getting out of the school should be a main priority in lockdowns as staying put in your classroom will only keep safe for some time. If the intruder is in the school the main priority should be to get out of the school, but instead lockdowns keep you inside the school and make you rely on the police to do the rest which doesn’t work out all the time.

During the Robb Elementary shooting in 2022 in Texas, the school went into lockdown and waited for the police to arrive and save them. In footage that came out later on during the investigation, police were seen waiting in the hallway for the shooter instead of taking action which led to the gunman continuing his rampage and more students getting killed.

We have been told ever since we started school that lockdowns will keep us safe when there is a threat. But it has been shown to us in actual events that going into lockdowns isn’t all you need to be safe. So why is it that schools continue to tell us that is all that is needed to save ourselves?

There has to be a way for students and teachers to leave the school safely without having to rely on the police and other outside forces. The best way to keep people safe during a school shooting is getting away from the school, that should be the priority, not huddling into a corner because that is useless. Getting out of the school is what schools should be incorporating into their lockdown drills.

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About the Contributors
Sara Yusuf
Sara Yusuf, Social Media Manager
Sara is a sophomore member of the Lightridge staff.  This is her second year on staff and her first as c0-Social Media manager.
Tre Holley
Tre Holley, Photo Editor
Tre is a senior and a first year member of the Lightridge News staff. He is primarily interested in photojournalism.

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