Friday, February 15, 2008

The Case of the Lockdown

When I was in high school, we did fire drills and tornado drills. Okay, I'm going to sound like a seriously old person here, but Bill Clinton was president, terrorism was associated with bombings of military targets, and I'd never heard of Littleton, Colorado.

Now at high schools they do lockdown drills where they pretend there is a person with a gun in the school. There are procedures designed for this. Including everyone in the class going to an area in the classroom where there are no windows so no one could see there are people in the classroom, turning off the lights, and locking doors.

Since the killings at Virginia Tech, and more recently Lousiana Technical College and Northern Illinois shootings, I've been wondering more and more about the wisdom and practicality of instituting similar procedures at universities and colleges. I am, as a part of a college environment, worried that this could happen at my school, in my classroom, to my students. Don't get me wrong, I don't stay up late at night, fretting over guns in the classroom. I know these are isolated incidents, but I must admit that the media buzz over these isolated incidents is forcing me to reconsider the safety I feel on campus, while in my classroom.

At our urban campus, crime alerts about muggings and accostings seem pretty regular. But as soon as step in front of the classroom, I feel invincible. I'm teaching. The students are learning (or sleeping, as the case may be). No one is going to come into my classroom and shoot it up. But, if they did, would I know what to do? Could I protect the students?

I'll think of those students who were killed all day today. And hope that their families and friends will make it through the day. And hope against hope that I never have to hear about gunshots being fired at any other school again.

1 comment:

  1. As Thucydides says, it is better to build strength than to hope.

    As much as it depresses me to say it, I strongly doubt that the shootings at NIU are the last that we shall hear about.


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