School-based tragedies like the December 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT have prompted outpourings of support and even efforts to help heal our country through random acts of kindness.
They have also prompted schools to take a look at the security measures they have in place and to practice those protocols. This means kids across the country are practicing lockdown drills, a safety measure with which not all parents are comfortable.
Just Another Drill
An article in the Boston Globe addressing myths about mass shootings questioned whether lockdown drills are effective, suggesting that they are more traumatizing than instructional to children. While there may be truth to that, many of the moms we talked to said that their kids see lockdown drills as a routine part of school life.
Mom Dale M. agrees. On the Circle of Moms Facebook page she was one of many moms who said their children don’t see lockdown drills as being any different than fire drills or, in some cases, earthquake and tornado drills.
Kids Worry About Being Left Behind
There’s a difference, though, between a fire drill in which everyone is evacuating the building and a lockdown drill in which classroom doors are locked against intruders. For some kids, the idea of being left behind and locked out is very scary.
In fact, when Circle of Moms member Lorie T.’s son was in pre-kindergarten, during his first experience of practicing a lockdown drill, he was left behind in the school bathroom. He was OK, but being left outside of locked doors is a fear that many kids share.
One mom of three from New York says her daughter was so afraid she'd be caught in the bathroom during a drill or real emergency that she wouldn't leave for school in the morning "until she had done her business."
Both she and Lorie addressed their situations with the school and, in the latter's case, made a plan with the school nurse to help her daughter feel more secure about what to do if she was in the bathroom during a lockdown.
Moms Worry About Being Left Out
While some kids are feeling anxiety around lockdown drills, moms seem to be having an even harder time. Circle of Moms members certainly worry about the effect lockdown drills have on their kids, but more prevalent are their concerns that parents are being left in the dark about when and what procedures are taking place.
Nikki B. says her children’s school sends text messages to parents letting them know when a drill begins and ends, a practice mom Angela G. says she wishes her child's school would adopt. That's something that would probably go a long way in allaying Nicole D.'s fears. The Tiny Steps Mommy blogger says the only text she’s received about a lockdown was from her son when he was in the middle of one that wasn't a drill. She thinks (and other moms agree) that there's a valuable lesson to be learned from her experience — maybe some schools need to loosen their texting bans for students to make everyone feel safer.
Parental resources from the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP):
- Talking to Children About Violence: Tips for Parents and Teachers
- Identifying Seriously Traumatized Children: Tips for Parents and Educators
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.