“This is a lockdown. Locks. Lights. Out of Sight. This is a lockdown. Locks. Lights. Out of Sight.”
I’d been puttering around my classroom during my end of the day plan when the announcement came over the intercom. Two thoughts flashed through my mind: Was this on the calendar? and They didn’t say drill.
I quickly grabbed my keys to lock the door and, as I pulled the blind, I noticed a seventh grade girl on her way back to her classroom from the restroom. Her classroom door was already locked so I called her into my room. We moved to the most out-of-the-way corner of the room silently.
She was clearly worried. I whispered to her that I couldn’t call her teacher. What I didn’t say was that, if this wasn’t a drill, we’d give them away. I whispered again to let her know I’d look on my laptop to see what was going on. Usually, when there is any sort of safety issue, a banner runs across the top of the school district’s website. Early today we’d al been warned about phone outages at another middle school. But nothing scrolled there now. I told her that this was probably an unscheduled drill, even though that was weird.
After about 10 minutes we could hear movement in the hallways, a single voice It was disconcerting not knowing what was going on. I wanted to lift the blind and peek out to the hallway, but resisted. What if it wasn’t a drill. We could hear the single voice getting closer and the jingle of keys. I let my young companion know that we were not allowed to open the door. Anyone on the outside had to identify his/herself to us and open the door with their own key. And sure enough, that is what happened.
A couple of knocks on the door, then, “This is Mrs. _____.” The jangling of her keys preceded the opening of the door. Once it was open she told us a teacher had pressed the newly installed “Lock down” button on the phone by accident. I waited with my student until her room was unlocked. Her teacher gave her a big hug.
The school buzzed afterwards. Messages were sent to staff and families. Our administrators praised staff & students for the swiftness and silence of our reaction to the unexpected drill. We have a staff meeting this morning and I bet the new phone buttons will be addressed. All staff had been sent a video explaining how to use (and cancel) the new buttons. I still haven’t watched them, but I like to get to work early, so I will be sure I’ve watched the video before the staff ,meeting begins.