Our First Lockdown Drill

posted Nov 21, 2016, 10:46 AM by Wanda Symes
This morning we held our first lockdown drill of the year. Thank you to all students for their responsible participation! We were able to release from the drill within 30 minutes, which is remarkable given our school's size. We will hold one more lockdown drill before the end of the school year. Read below for further information regarding lockdowns, as referenced in a previous newsletter this fall. 

Lockdown Drill Information

Lockdowns should be viewed as a proactive measure taken by the school to ensure that our students and staff are safe in the event of a threat to the school or the individuals inside the school. Based on lockdown procedures that have already been established in many Ontario schools, the following guidelines are being provided to help elementary and secondary schools ensure their lockdown plans meet basic requirements, and to ensure a degree of consistency across the province.   

Mandatory Requirements

1. All publicly-funded school boards in Ontario must establish a lockdown policy to ensure the development and implementation of individual school plans.

2. A minimum of two lockdown drills must occur each school year.    

It is important that all people involved understand the terminology correctly. The term "Lockdown" will only be used when there is an imminent threat of violence within the school, or in relation to the school. The misuse of this term could result in staff and students becoming desensitized and not taking the procedure seriously.  

The term "Secure School" will be used to secure the school because of a situation that is not an imminent threat to the school but could endanger people if they were leaving the property (e.g., a bank robbery occurring near the school or a gas leak in the neighbourhood). In this case, the school would continue to function normally, with the exterior doors being locked until the situation is resolved, and individual classrooms being locked with students kept inside the rooms.    

Lockdown drills end with a general announcement releasing people from the drill. In the event of an actual lockdown, however, no announcement over the public address system would be made until a police officer or school administrator (in person) has released every classroom or secured room to a secure classroom situation.

In the event that there is a lockdown drill in a school, parents would not be permitted to enter the school building or to escort their child out of the school. Cell phones would not be accessible to students, and communication would be temporarily cut off to attend to this serious situation. The practice of holding these drills will ensure that our students have a healthy respect for this serious situation.