What it's like to do a lockdown drill with kindergarten kids

At Launa Hall's public school, they do regular "lockdown" drills with all the kids, including her 4- and 5-year-old kindergarten students, who have to be crowded into a locked closet and convinced to stay silent without terrifying them so much that they start crying.

Normally, the drills last for a few minutes, but on one memorable occasion, a communications problem left the kids in lockdown for 12 minutes, during which time Hall became half-convinced that there really was a shooter loose in the school, and left her wondering how she'd die when the killer came for her kids.

Countries that have gun control have fewer mass-killings. States with stricter gun control laws have fewer mass-killings than states with more lax laws. The New Yorker compares this to a city where children are being killed by a curable disease, whose cure can't be implemented because a faith-healing cult with an ancient municipal history insists that the solution is to have a "faith healer praying in every kindergarten."

But that analogy is flawed: ancient cults don't get rich from the diseases they deny.

We get the children into the closet. My assistant lowers the window blinds, submerging our bright classroom in an odd, midday twilight, while I go to the classroom door. I quickly check for any children in the hallway, anyone I could pull to safety in my room. That's part of the protocol. But who do I think would be there? The whole school is doing this drill. It is, in fact, just a drill, I reassure myself. I lock the door, pull a paper shade over the glass and, silently, step back to the closet…

…Okay, this is it. So, who am I? Am I the one who dies valiantly tackling the shooter? Am I the quick-thinking teacher who saves several hidden children, telling the shooter they're in the auditorium, before I am shot? Am I the teacher who sprawls into a body shield with all my best intentions but succeeds only in dying along with my charges? My inner voice, as clear as an actual voice in that silence, reminds me: You're a mom. Hide. You have children of your own. I turn back to the closet.

Rehearsing for death: A pre-K teacher on the trouble with lockdown drills
[Launa Hall/Washington Post]

(via Making Light)

(Image: Where are the kids, Wendy, CC-BY-SA)