Lockdown Drill at Milton
by The Milton Measure on Friday, November 16th, 2012
Several weeks ago, students and faculty participated in Milton Academy’s first lock-down drill of the year. The lock-down procedure is a relatively new addition to the school’s security system, and some argue that it is too troublesome.
While one might think actual lock-down situations would be infrequent, crimes like armed-robberies and murders can cause local schools to go into lock-down. A google search of the term “lock-down” reveals that many states have lock-down policies. Lock-down drills at Milton are run by Facilities to prepare the community for high-risk situations. In recent months, schools have been locked down for reasons ranging from gunmen to coyotes.
Campus safety stresses the importance of staying prepared in an age when school violence is becoming more frequent. When asked about the drills, Jay Hackett, the Director of Campus Safety, said that, “Sadly, safety drills are a way of life in schools… Faculty, staff and parents all know the major incidents over the past few decades such as Virginia Tech, West Nickel Mines Amish School (PA) and Red Lake (MN). Since something could happen any place you go, the skills that are learned during a drill can be used during your entire life.” Many students, however, feel that testing the lock-down procedure is little more than an inconvenience. One Class IV girl said that the “lock-down is [necessary] in case an emergency was to happen, yet during class it can act as an inconvenience especially if a test or quiz is going on”.
A second issue surrounding the lock-down system is its effectiveness in an actual emergency. Mark Balboni (III) believes that Milton’s system would not function properly, sharing, “the effectiveness of the lock-down system is really limited to the administrators and campus safety knowing where everyone is during the event of an emergency. I find it hard to believe that, if there were a man on campus with the intent of harming people, he would be fooled by the seemingly empty classrooms and leave”.
Agreeing with Mark that that the system is less than optimal, the Class IV girl continued, “I am not sure if the lock-down protocol would prove effective during an actual emergency…people commonly think of it as a joke during the drills”. Mr. Hackett, however, believes otherwise, stating, “[Lock-down] is an effective plan, taking into account that we have an open campus with multiple buildings. Each time we conduct a drill, we develop a list of ‘lessons learned,’ to make improvements.”
Despite students’ doubts about the system’s use, the lock-down procedure does possess many effective qualities. Mr. Hackett believes the system is useful and preventative. “We have a great group of faculty and staff who are designated as door lockers in the event of an emergency,” Mr. Hackett assures us, “Campus Safety and ATS have been working together to have one of the best notification systems. Many systems require a dispatcher to activate a lock-down. Our system allows multiple administrators to activate the notification system.”
In response to those who question the effectiveness and necessity of the Lockdown System, Hackett says, “Hopefully we will never have to find out, but we are prepared.”
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