“Lockdown, lockdown. Lockdown, lockdown.” The announcement came over the P.A. system around 9:30 a.m. My class jumped from our seats and made our way to the corner of the room. Our teacher turned off the lights and the projector, locked the door and quickly hushed us.
Students immediately rushed to their phones and so began the rumor mill. Posts flew around on Snapchat and Twitter. With a quick screenshot and repost, those posts were spread even further. Theories on what was going on and where the threat was located were tossed around. We had no information to go off of.
At 10 a.m., I texted my mom telling her where I was, that I was safe and that I loved her. It wasn’t until 11:03 a.m. that Dr. Veracco made the all-call to inform our families that we were safely in lockdown.
As I sat in a dark corner, clutching my phone and the information that was on it closely, I wondered how safe I really was. I could hear the sounds of the police doing a sweep outside my class. I figured the threat was on my floor. Outside my class.
The protocol has been the same for as long as I can remember. Teachers turn off the lights and the SMART board, lock the door and we all sit in a corner. I feel like I’ve been practicing these drills for my entire schooling career in the Lake Central district. The same protocol I practiced over 10 years ago is the same protocol my 9-year-old sister practices today.
According to CNN, in the past 10 years, there have been 180 school shootings. All at different times of the day, different levels of severity and in different states. There have been 356 victims. From across the west coast to the east, 114 people were killed and 242 were injured. As a country, we need to change things.
A new type of training for in-school threats is being spread to schools around the country. ALICE training is an acronym which stands for: Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate. ALICE avoids the common-practiced protocol of hiding in a dark corner, and looks to inform school staff of different ways to protect themselves and their students. So far, ALICE has spread their teachings to over 5,000 school districts, one of those being Crown Point.
Wednesday’s events should have been a wake-up call for our district and also a call for action. We have been blessed enough to not have to experience the tragedy of a school shooting. However, we need to be prepared for anything in a district this large. By implementing new training, we can work to prepare better for what the future may bring.