Lockdown Procedures for Schools

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There are two common lockdowns in schools. An internal lockdown is used when an intruder has entered the school. An external lockdown is when a suspicious person is on the school grounds or if a known criminal is in the area of the school.

1 Internal Lockdown

The administrator makes the announcement of an internal lockdown. Check for children or staff in the hall in the immediate area and have them come in the room. Lock classroom doors. Turn off lights. Windows opening to the inside hall are covered with shades or paper so the intruder cannot see into the room.

Students sit on the floor in a safe place, out of sight of the door. A large closet is a good location. Place a sign in the window, possibly color paper, to notify anyone outside there is an intruder in the school. There should be a designated location for these students and teachers to go. If possible, email the main office that your room is secure. Notify the office of any missing children.

Remind the students to be very quiet. Window shades on outside windows remain up so police can see into the rooms from the outside. If the intruder is in an elementary school, reassure the young children that the police are on their way and they are safe. Explain to them that it is very important to remain quiet, especially if they hear noises in the hall or someone trying to open the door.

Do not open the door for anyone. Wait for the police or an administrator to unlock the door.

2 External Lockdown

Administrators announce an external lockdown. Window shades are closed. Turn off lights. If the classroom is on the first floor, the children sit on the floor away from the windows. If the classroom is located on the second floor, lessons may continue if children are safely away from the windows. Teachers and students wait for an announcement to resume classes.

3 Emergency Bag

Prepare an emergency bag in case of a prolonged internal lockdown. Items in the bag might be tissues, cough drops, a flashlight and a book to quietly read to the class. Snacks and water should be kept in the safe spot where the students will sit.

4 Administration

Everyone in the office should be assigned a job. An announcement is made and police are called. If it is an internal lockdown, the hall is quickly checked for students or staff, doors are locked, any inside windows are covered and the lights are turned off. If it is an external lockdown, the doors to the school are locked, the windows are covered and the lights are turned off. The staff should remain away from the windows.

Dean Hunting is a retired businessman who began writing professionally in 2008. He specializes in topics related to cooking, sports, home-improvement projects and hunting. Hunting is also a Vietnam veteran and attended Pennsylvania State University for a B.A. in mechanical engineering.