Today we had a faculty/staff meeting about evacuation and lockdown procedures. Our resident police officer (because he is on our staff now) gave a PowerPoint presentation about what to do during a lockdown.
We had a lockdown last year. It lasted two hours. Someone had scrawled a bomb threat on the bathroom wall, but we didn't know that in our classrooms. My toughest senior guys were scared--you could see it in their eyes. I was scared too, but I don't think they knew how scared.
The officer saw fit to include slides from Columbine in his presentation. While it did remind everyone to take him seriously, I don't need to see that image of a teenage shooter prowling the cafeteria with a semiautomatic in order to remember. I don't need to see that ever again.
We were told not to allow kids to use their cell phones to contact their parents during a lockdown. We were told that the "vibrations from a cell phone can set off a pipe bomb." I don't know if this is true. I think the vibrations from a cell phone can set parents to swarming a school, complicating things.
I don't know if I could take a phone away from a kid during a crisis. Nor do I know whether I could ignore a banging on the door and a plea to come in, as we were also instructed. Don't open the door to anyone. Don't let them use their phones. Sit in the corner. Don't speak.
The possibilities are disturbing, but the immediate reality is perhaps even more so. As the officer spoke, I noticed that he was wearing his gun in its holster around his waist. I don't know why that surprised me. It did not make me feel safe.