It's never too early in the year to start thinking about your kids safety at school, at least that's the stance Pueblo City Schools District 60 is taking.
Soon, the district will begin another round of surprise lockdown drills at their schools. District 60 started surprising schools with lockdown drills last fall. The district says the results from last year were promising, but they are stepping it up a notch this year looking for faster response times among other things. "When an incident is happening, time is of the essence, and we want people to respond and confidently respond," explains Randy Evetts, Project Director for the Safe and Healthy Kids Initiative at District 60.
The idea behind the district dropping in on schools seemingly at random is to test both the school's administration and the students’ reactions to an unexpected event. All too often teachers are aware of a pending lockdown drill and plan their day around it. When the district shows up, they could be in the middle of a lesson. It's all designed to be as close to a real situation as they can get without putting anyone in danger.
This knowledge that a lockdown could come at anytime helps foster an atmosphere of readiness throughout the school.
The drills also look at how the schools are conducting their lockdowns, making sure each one is being handled the way the district wants them to be. This uniformity allows teachers and students to move from school to school and not miss a beat should a lockdown be called for.
This year, the district is stepping up their surprise lockdowns a notch, in addition to faster response times, they are looking for flexibility. "We also wanted people to recognize that there's an opportunity to think, and even though we have a crisis manual situations are usually dynamic and changing; and it's important for them to respond accordingly," says Evetts.
This district also wants to prepare parents for the impending surprise drills. The district is asking parents to check with them first, if they receive texts from their student saying their school is in lockdown. It could just be a drill, but if it's not, the district can tell the parent what to do next.