Like thousands of other schools, the day is about to begin, students are finishing breakfast in the cafeteria and heading to their first class of the day. Some are frantically trying to finish their homework before class starts.
It’s the beginning of a day that is so familiar to each of us.
That’s exactly how the day started for over a thousand students at Chardon High School five years ago on February 27.
In a scene much like the one you are picturing at approximately 7:30 the worlds surrounding seven young students shattered.
In a tragedy that is becoming a far too common headline in our news; a shooting broke out killing three young men and injuring three other students.
The incidents of school lockdowns from threats whether real or fake has been on the rise in the past few years. Bomb Threats alone have seen a 1,461% increase since 2011 according to a study done by the Educator’s School Safety Network with an average of 155 reported threats per month in the 2015-2016 school year.
For many of us these tragedies happen very close to home. At a high school just up the street from where I work five students were stabbed last fall. This really can happen at any school.
How can we prepare for the safety of our students, neighbors, and children? Lockdown drills have proven effective at keeping students in safe locations such as a classroom. What happens after a lockdown begins?
What happens behind those locked doors?
The lights are turned off, the students trying to be less conspicuous, hide against the corner of the room.
They are tense, worried, scared, and a little panicked. Questions begin to cross their minds.
How long will I be here? Minutes? Hours? In cases with natural disasters, a day or more?
How will I stay in a classroom for that long? No food, no access to the bathroom.
These are questions that need to be asked before not after an emergency. Are our students prepared? Are our schools prepared?
Have you thought about hygiene and sanitation, food, water, cold weather protection, and air contamination in an emergency situation?
Whatever the answer to these questions is for you, it’s up to us to make whatever preparations are needed now, to make sure the measures and supplies are in place for the protection of our students before not after an emergency situation arises.
With the right preparation, disaster can be minimized and tragedy avoided.