These days, most students know what to do in the event of a lockdown at their school. Sadly, that includes preschoolers.
California state law requires all schools to practice safety drills every six months. At a local pre-school, whose name we are not disclosing, students practice a drill once a month, whether it’s a fire drill, an earthquake drill, or a lockdown drill.
The 3 and 4-year-olds know how to follow their teacher quietly into the closet in the classroom. There they practice hiding in case of an active shooter situation or other emergency.
Inside the closet, there are glow-in-the-dark stars, snacks and books to keep the children from getting anxious.
The school’s Director Gloria Franco said the safety of the children is a priority, and says they practice often so the students know what to do.
Assistant Director Julia Duke said that from the time the practice drills started, the children have never been afraid. That’s due in part to the teachers being trained not to show their nerves.
That’s also something parents should think about when discussing emergency plans with their children, Duke said.
“Children feed off any emotion, specially the family, they feel every emotion you have,” he said. “So you personally have to be in a good place before you put a plan into action.”
Just like with a fire or earthquake drill, families should have a plan in case of an active shooter. Duke suggests parents have a code word that means “follow me now.” They should have a plan to escape a movie theatre or public place, and they should have a meeting place.