In light of the lockdown of the K-State Campus last week, I have been thinking a lot about campus security. As teachers, we are responsible for the safety of our students, which, if you think about it, is TERRIFYING.
There are so many bad things that can happen:
-A kid can go into anaphylactic shock from a trigger like mold or peanut butter in your room
-Someone can have a rare seizure disorder which requires an immediate call for an ambulance.
-A kid can harm another kid intentionally.
-A kid can harm another kid accidentally.
-A kid can have a panic or anxiety attack about being around another student in your class.
-An intruder can come into the school, armed or unarmed.
-A robbery or other crime can happen outside the school.
My school is in the proximity of the Lansing Minimum Security Prison and the Leavenworth National Maximum Security Prison. PRISONS. FULL OF PEOPLE THAT DID BAD THINGS.
That, plus now we are being trained on things like bomb threats, biohazard and environmental danger; it is downright terrifying.
LMS is an ALICE school, which is a philosophy that gives the teacher options on keeping their kids safe, which includes Run (get out of the building), Hide (lock down in place, barricade and hide) or fight back (throw things and attack the attacker to disable him (or her!)). I appreciate that we have options. We have a large building and I have a large room with many extra rooms. I also have a door that goes outside, which allows me to have more options than most teachers.
Last year we had an intruder drill. It was the scariest thing I have ever had to do. I had not been trained on what to do (I had ALICE training at an Olathe Substitute training, but didn’t know MY district’s policy) and I had 25 kids in my room. I did the best I could: I grabbed my laptop, keys, cell phone, walkie-talkie and emergency binder and instructed the kids to move their backpacks away from the windows so it looked like we weren’t in the room. I locked all the doors (which now are required by the fire marshall to be locked at all times) and moved my folder cart on wheels in front of the door. I instructed the kids to go to our practice room area, huddle together and create a perimeter with chairs and music stands. I then pushed both pianos in front of each entrance to the room. Honestly, I thought we did a pretty great job for not knowing anything.
Eventually, my principal came around, started yelling for us because he couldn’t find us and we came out. The “intruder” was in the library, which was on the other side of the building, which meant we should have just gone outside. I was proud of what we accomplished and my principal basically said we could survive a war in that room, so I will pat myself on the back for that one.
For this year, I put together a small emergency kit that is in our safe location. It contains:
-a few water bottles, candy and granola bars in case we are there for a while.
-An extra copy of every piece of our emergency binder, medical alert information and rosters, just in case.
-an extra ethernet cable, to be used as a weapon
-bandages and antibacterial
-plus a hockey stick is propped behind the door, mostly to confuse the kids
As of this year, our alerts now contain a biohazard alert, which means there is a chemical spill (or something of the like) inside or outside the building. We have been instructed to tape plastic to the perimeter of each door, which I haven’t recieved instructions about how to go about that yet.
We also have normal fire and tornado drills, which work like clockwork.
The best thing you can do it watch every situation. Watch the kid who gets agitated easily. Watch the bullies and who they are bullying. Survey parking lots and after school activities for creepers and report what you see. It is better to report something and have it be nothing than to not report and have someone get hurt.
Unfortunately we live in a time where we have to be watching all the time. I live alone and am constantly checking my locks and if my blinds are drawn, not because I am afraid, but because I am pro-active. I live in a VERY safe part of Johnson County, but creepers are everywhere (right, Minecraft people?)
Stay Safe, Wildcats.