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 How would you deal with a lockdown in your classroom? 
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Due to the events of Monday and since we also brought this up in class, I just wanted to know how you think you would deal with a lockdown in your own classroom.

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Mallory Beck


Wed Mar 05, 2008 10:31 pm
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I really like that question. My senior year in high school we had a lockdown for about 3 hours. A girl found out that her boyfriend was cheating on her with another girl and then decided to bring her shotgun into the school. It was kind of scary, but more like "what is she thinking???."

I had two of my roommates in Sanford and the mood in there was intense. There were police everywhere and no one was truly clear on what was going on. Some people thought "he" was in the building and that they were about to get shot; pretty terrifying. One teacher kept going and another just had the class discuss what was going on and how people were feeling. If I was the teacher, it would be hard to say what I would do. On the one hand, I do not want this event to affect my teaching and on the other, I want to make sure my students' needs are being met. I do not think that much processing would be going on with my students if they thought there was a gunman outside, so I think that I would have some sort of class discussion about a topic somewhat relevant to the events that were unfolding.

It would be very difficult to decided what to do....


Thu Mar 06, 2008 10:37 am
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If I was in a high school, then i would follow the procedures outlined by the school and take full responsibility in making sure my students were safe. However, in a college situation like this I feel that I would encourage students to follow the rules and stay in the building during a lock down. If student's insisted they should leave then I think essentially it is up to them since they are of age to make that decision.

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Chaise L. Swisher


Thu Mar 06, 2008 11:57 am
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I agree with Chaise...it depends on the age of the students you have and what kind of situation you are in...

Me goin to be a kindergarten teacher. I would just make sure that my kids new they were safe and just reassure them that things were going to be ok and that we were safe in our classroom. I would use simple and non threating words so that they could better understand. And get them engaged in a fun activity to keep their minds off of the scary situation that is taking place.

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Melanie Klaus


Thu Mar 06, 2008 2:16 pm
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This is a great topic. One of the things that I never understood in school was the rule that once the doors were locked they had to stay locked. If there is a student in the hallway during the lockdown the teachers were not allowed to let that student in. I understand the potential harm of opening the door, but I would want to save as many students as I could. An RA was telling me that when the campus locks down the residence halls are locked similar to a classroom door and no one is supposed to let anyone in. I was shocked when she told me that she was not allowed to let her residents standing at the door into the building.

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Keara Seiler


Thu Mar 06, 2008 4:40 pm
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Keara,

What school did you go to? because I know at my school if we were to go into a lockdown and there were students in the hall they were supposed to go to the closest classroom and stay with that class. I find it kind of counter to what they want to happen if they leave students out in the hall to fend for themselves!

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Melanie Klaus


Thu Mar 06, 2008 5:57 pm
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Great question. Although it is hard to say exactly what i would do, i can say what i think i would do in this situation. As a few of you have already stated, it has to do with the age group. I plan to be a high school teacher, and from what history tells us high schools are the most likely places out of educational settings for something like this to happen. I would definitely follow all the procedures that my school had on how to react to a lockdown, i know the school has drills throughout the year, but i would be sure i knew exactly what the procedure was and that each one of my students knew the drill as well.
The events that took place on Monday placing our campus into a lockdown was a scary time for many people, and i am very shocked to hear of professors, not knowing the exact details of the situation, were letting students leave their class, i think professors who did this need to wake up and realize the potential danger of what they did. But overall in any educational setting when something like this happens, we can all speculate what we would do, but none of us know how we would react until something like this actually happened.

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Preston Bridges


Thu Mar 06, 2008 9:30 pm
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Melanie-- I went to school in Charlotte. I don't really get it either.

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Keara Seiler


Thu Mar 06, 2008 11:09 pm
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I remember in high school having lockdowns at least once a month, along with bomb threats and fire drills. It was like a routine to have these and even though we had so many, each time we had to follow the rules of what to do in each circumstance. Last year a student I graduated with actually went to our high school and shot through the school, and all though no one was critically injured, it just goes to show how serious this can be and what precautions teachers, students and faculty need to take when situations like this arrise. I have no I idea how I would handle a situation like that, much less a lockdown. I would try to keep all my students calm and safe. Like everyone said before, it does depend on the age of the students and since I will be with younger kids, I just have to keep ensuring them everything is ok and try to take their minds off whats going on, even though I would try to keep the language I use as age appropriate as possible to make sure they don't get scared or confused.

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Jenna Perry


Fri Mar 07, 2008 3:09 pm
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I agree with Melanie - I'm going to be an elementary school teacher so I would probably react a little differently with my students. I will be teaching all ages so I will handle each of the grade levels a little differently. I agreed with Dr. Turner when she said that by about fourth or fifth grade the students can be told what's going on and will be able to handle it with as much maturity as possible.
I am actually doing an internship this semester and the teacher I am working with was describing a situation that had happened last semester at Valle Crucis. I was really surprised to find that the school went on lockdown; it's one of those situations that you think will never happen to you!
I do think it's important to do "practice lockdowns" especially in high schools, because students should know what to do in case of an emergency. It's always better to be safe then sorry!

Meaghan Dunham
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Fri Mar 07, 2008 11:12 pm
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I just wanted to add that choices we make as teachers in these situations take us back to what we were talking about at the beginning of the semester as "the human condition."

Do I follow "the rules" if the rules make one of my students unsafe? Many of us might do that. But that is following the path of least resistance. For each of us, what matters the most? Sometimes these decisions can be heart rending. If I know my student is pounding on the door to be let in, I will let them in the room. But I also have to know that I may be endangering all my students already in the room if the one in the hall is being pursued by someone with a gun. Do I think I can handle this? How? We have to make split second decisions throughout out lives.

I only ask that each of you never does this thoughtlessly- and that in itself is quite a tall order.

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Gayle Turner


Tue Mar 18, 2008 10:48 am
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My middle school and high school had several lockdowns, to the point where I'm not even bothered by them that much anymore. I don't know if that is a good thing or a bad thing. I think if I was in charge of a classroom and there was a lockdown in my school I would take it much more seriously than I did sometimes in high school. I also think my actions will be different than that of a college professor like we discussed in class. My students are going to be MY responsibility and their safety comes first. If they want to argue with me and try to leave my classroom during a lockdown then too bad, they're stuck. Theres no way I would let one of my students leave if I knew there was an armed intruder near by.

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Megan Snyder


Tue Mar 18, 2008 3:10 pm
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We never experienced a lockdown, and honestly I'm not sure how I would handle it in my own classroom. I'm sure that I would be able to try and stay calm enough as to not scare the children, but I guess since I have never been in the situation, I would really have to think about that one....I do know, that safety will always come first, and the main responsibility I would have as a teacher would be to protect the children..

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Laura Serio


Thu Mar 27, 2008 11:46 am
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I'm in the same boat as Laura in that i have never experienced a lockdown before. But the main thing that i would need to do is stay clam. I've learned that students, or any group of people for that matter, reflect the emotions of their leader. So just staying clam and acting professional would be number two on my list behind, right behind safety.


Thu Mar 27, 2008 12:06 pm
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I think the most important thing to do in a lockdown situation in a classroom is to stay calm. As a precautionary measure the door should be locked and maybe secured by placing a bookcase or something heavy infront of the door if it is possible. Students should be positioned away from the door. If the classroom anxiety is high, which it probably will be, there should be some discussion about what is taking place.

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Hoy Colson
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Sat Mar 29, 2008 6:31 pm
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Last semester I attended an internship course designed to introduce the students to classroom management and procedures, part of our final was to explain what we would do in some situations. One of the situations was that as a teacher, I heard one student telling another student that a third student had brought a gun to school. My group discussed this extensively, and there really is no set protocol for teachers in such situations. We have to protect our students, we want to protect our students. But, we also may have to protect our students from each other. We all, my group members, admired the professor at VT who shielded his students, and hoped we would have the courage and gonads to do the same. But the truth is each situation is different, and part of this whole human condition thing is that there is no definite reaction to any problem. I mean, why can someone be noble and protective on time, and then turn around and be totally uncaring the next? While I will admit that a lock down can be a real pain, it probably is the best way to minimize danger to both the students and educators. I only real known and safe reaction is to remain calm and in control of your students.

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Robert W. Triplett


Tue Apr 01, 2008 6:31 am
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As you know, I taught fourth grade in Gaston County. We had a very specific procedure that we had to follow and we had to practice that procedure just like a fire drill or tornado drill. We did have an incident one day, unfortunately. There was no one in our building, but a bank close to our school had been robbed and they locked down all schools in the area until the suspect was located. My twenty or so students and I had to sit in a dark room, blinds drawn, door locked for almost an hour. They knew that they were supposed to sit quietly away from doors and windows. They handled it very well actually. Once we were able to go back to school as usual my students were not very interested in going back to reading. They wanted to talk about what had happened and they wanted some reassurance that they were going to be ok. So I took that time to talk to them and let them talk to each other. I can honestly say that some of the best discussions that we had as a class came when we would talk about why we needed to have lock down drills.

When the Virginia Tech shootings happened my students came to school and wanted to talk about it. I know they were only in fourth grade, but it was important to them. I think it is important to remember that when there are major things are going on in the world, or even in your school, and your students have that on their minds they need to be able to deal with that before they can go on with the "traditional" learning that they are responsible for.

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Erin Painter


Tue Apr 01, 2008 9:40 am
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I really like the point that Erin brings up and while I don't have the first-hand experience that she does this is something that we talked about in our Educational Psychology class. We talked about taking situations like this and bring something to the students about it, he called it the "teachable moment". So while following all the procedures that are in place, of which I'm sure we will all be made aware of when we our jobs. Making sure that the students feel safe and making them aware of the situation and giving them a chance to talk about it and understand it.


Tue Apr 01, 2008 10:28 am
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I have thoguht about a lot of different scenarios as a teacher but until the lockdown on our campus a couple weeks ago i had not put any thoguht as to what i would do if i were in position to do this in a public school setting. If we are in a public school setting then i feel that it is my responsibility to protect my students who are in my class at the time. I think the most important aspect of being a teacher involved in a lockdown is to have the students remain calm and collected.


Tue Apr 01, 2008 10:29 am
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It is hard to say exactly what I would do in a lock down. Age of students definitely plays a role in the way the situation would be handled. Being a special educator I could have a wide age range in my students. The biggest issue would be the safety of my students and that would be my top priority. I know that I would not continue with class as if nothing was going on. Even young students will know that something is going on. I may not tell young students everything that was happening and in detail, but would try and calmly talk to them and ensure that they all felt safe. Erin, I think it is great that you discussed this issue with your students. I think that is very important and would be something I would do in my classroom.

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Allyson Chambers


Tue Apr 01, 2008 12:28 pm
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