That is what I am required to say over the school intercom when we hold a lockdown drill or if we need to lock down the school for safety reasons. Boy, I hope and pray that I never need to hold a real lockdown, but the chances are good that I will one day.
The world is a pretty messed up place if we have to practice locking classroom doors, lowering blinds, turning off the light, and hiding with a group of children in the corner of a classroom. What a shame. Sure, I understand the need, I just don’t like it.
Today, we held an unannounced lockdown drill. The teachers knew that it would be this week, but the date and time was a surprise even to me. The police and the folks from the district office came in and announced that I needed to lock the school down. Then we walked the halls checking on all of the classrooms. What a strange experience. The school seemed completely deserted, and never quieter during a school day. It was eerie.
These drills bring out the most difficult “what if…” questions. What if a child is in the bathroom? What if a child is in the hall by himself? What if it happens during an assembly, or even worse, during lunch time? What if my entire class is in the hallway? These are very hard questions, and there are no perfect answers. We school principals do not like being unable to answer questions related to student and staff safety.
Ask me anything about a fire drill or a tornado drill, and I can tell you the procedures from memory. But a lockdown? There are so many variables that we can’t control and I can’t answer. It scares the hell out of me, and it should.