Lock down drills


Active Member
Tigger had been acting up last month (5 restraints in a two week period) after having been pretty good all year (just 5 restraints in the 3 months before that). He was calming down quite nicely after we took him off the Strattera.

Course today was hellacious. He was restrained on and off for 3 hours. We have cuddle time every night where we try and work through whatever is bothering him or talk about fun stuff if nothing is bothering him.

He tells me that he doesn't like sitting in the dark at school, that it scares him. I ask, "who is making you sit in the dark?" He tells me "we have to be ready for when the bad man comes to school. I have to sit quiet in the dark so he doesn't get me."


Why would you put a child that has HUGE school anxiety through a lockdown drill? The kid has a 1:1 aide, it's not like he won't have 1:1 help in the incredibly rare event that a bad man does come to their school (has there ever been a shooting at an elementary building???). I'm sure they just didn't think!!!

So I get to go to school tomorrow and explain that they have triggered the latest round of rages. And put it in my notes for his next IEP that Tigger is to be taken somewhere else (counselor's office?) when the school does its lock down drills.

Wish me luck getting him to school tomorrow...


Well-Known Member
Oh gosh JJJ...if it isnt one thing its another.

I know schools think they are doing the right thing in preparing the kids for all possible events but I think we just scare them to death.

I guess there have been shootings at elementary schools. The Jonestown incident comes to mind. But even if we prepare the kids...a small kid isnt going to remember everything when it happens. The teachers will have to guide them.

My opinion is to maybe talk about safety and following directions and let that be that.

Taking little kids into dark places and scaring them just cant be good. I would have been a basket case.

On a side note about elementary schools...did you see the news report not long ago about the 1st grader who was caught smoking a joint in the boys bathroom? I simply couldnt believe it! He was 6 for crying out loud.


Active Member
Good luck, and I hope they think next time. difficult child 1 was smelling smoke for 3 weeks after the fire drill.

Stella Johnson

Active Member
Oh boy. I'm sure that would send my difficult child into a tailspin as well. Poor kid.

I hope your response to them works and they don't make him do these drills again. I'm afraid it may be a district policy that everyone participate.


Wiped Out

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Sorry this had to happen. I hope the school will understand and make the accomodations next time. Hugs.

timer lady

Queen of Hearts
Triple J,

Maybe it's different because the tweedles are in day treatment - but I've never heard of a school running a lock down drill.

I know this would send kt over the edge.

I'm glad that you're being proactive with the IEP & am hoping that difficult child settles back down into a routine quickly.

Keep up the good work, you underpaid, overworked & highly unappreciated :warrior: mum. (Get the feeling I have issues this morning. :rofl:)


New Member
<span style='font-size: 14pt'> <span style='font-family: Georgia'> <span style="color: #663366"> our school do have lockdown drills. while no on has broken into an elementary school they have had actual lockdowns. bad guys down here tend to try & outfun the cops & dogs ~~~ amazingly successful at it too, at least for awhile. when these guys bolt they lock down all the schools with-in X number of miles to protect the kids. it is mostly precautionary thank heavens.

school authorities tend to not think outside the box as in *how will this type of drill effect our emtionally fragile kids*. they should of course, but they don't.

since difficult child has a 1:1 it should be easy for them to excuse him from these drills. that being said....during that time 1:1 needs to review the rules for lockdown with-difficult child....yup, every single time. it could happen that difficult child & 1:1 might become separated & difficult child does need to know what to do.

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Well-Known Member
Staff member
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">has there ever been a shooting at an elementary building???</div></div>

A mentally ill man came into an elementary school in my school district and buried a hatchet into the head of a little girl that was passing by. Voices told him to do it.

She thankfully survived albeit with brain damage.

The recent Amish school shootings took place in an elementary school, too.

Here are three more:

January 29, 1979 San Diego, California, USA Armed with a .22 rifle she had been given for Christmas, 16-year-old Brenda Ann Spencer opened fire at Cleveland Elementary School. She wounded eight children and one police officer and killed two adults. When the six-hour incident ended, she was asked of her motive for the killing, to which she shrugged and replied "I don't like Mondays. This livens up the day." Soon after, the Dublin punk band Boomtown Rats wrote the song "I Don't Like Mondays" which was based on the incident.

May 20, 1988 Winnetka, Illinois, USA 30-year-old Laurie Dann walked into a second grade classroom at Hubbard Woods Elementary School carrying three pistols and began shooting children, killing eight-year-old Nicholas Corwin and wounding five others before fleeing. She entered a nearby house where she shot and wounded a 20-year-old man before killing herself.

September 26, 1988 Greenwood, South Carolina, USA 19 year old James Wilson opened fire at Oakland Elementary School, killing two eight year old girls and wounding nine others, seven of whom were children. He had been taking several psychiatric drugs at the time, including Valium, Halcion, and Xanax.

Yes, these things do happen and yes, the schools need to prepare for the possibility. It's a sad world that we live in.

by the way, we have lockdown drills at my school, too.


house of cards

New Member
My school will not allow you to get your child excused from the drills. I think they are actually dangerous. In my school they get the kids in preschool to gather and hide under a large table. If a sick person were to walk along the outside of the buildings the kids are herding into a group for him, unbelievable.


Well-Known Member
I realize that in this day and age, these kinds of "drills" are necessary. Kids watch the TV news too and they know what goes on in the world, and a lot of kids are probably already scared. Even though the instances of these things happening are still fairly rare, the media coverage makes it seem even more so. I think how they conduct these "drills" is vitally important - they must find a way to teach children what to do without scaring them half to death!

I'm probably much older than a lot of you, but we had "drills" too when I was a small kid in the 50's. Back then, everyone was waiting for "The Atomic Bomb" to drop! This was even before the era when everyone was building the backyard bomb shelters and stocking them with canned goods! At least once a week we were shown little movies and had classroom instruction on what to do when "The Bomb" was dropped on us! Not IF "The Bomb" dropped, it was WHEN "The Bomb" dropped! The films they showed told us that if "it" happened while we were in school, we would be safe if we crawled under our little wooden school desks and covered our heads with our arms! Even as small kids, we didn't buy that one! I remember being so scared of "it" happening while I was at school that for a long time I didn't want to go - if "it" happened while I was in school, I wouldn't be able to get home again! My biggest fear was being separated from my family.

They were pretty clueless back then and maybe they didn't realize that they were terrorizing a whole generation of children! Or maybe they knew the affect it was having on us, but thought that "the end justifies the means". They thought that way back then. This was coming from teachers we trusted and believed in, it wasn't "if" it happened, it was "when"! The teachers probably believed it themselves. And I remember assuming as a very young child that my friends and I more than likely were not going to be fortunate enough to grow up because they were going to drop A BOMB on us! I even got fairly philosophical about it at age 6 or 7 - like someone in the late stages of a terminal disease - thinking, "Too bad about me ... I probably would have made a good mother someday!" And it wasn't just me! I have talked to others about my age, and they all felt the same way. We grew up terrified, and it had a lifelong affect on us!

Kids today are growing up in a even more frightening atmosphere than we did. I know that it is necessary for kids to have "disaster training" in the schools, but I sincerely hope they keep in mind the sensitivity of children and do it in a way that says, "This probably will never happen, but if it does...", keeping a close eye on the anxiety level of the children and not alarming and frightening them unduly.


Well-Known Member
Geez, Donna, I didn't realize you were almost as old as I am.
I remember the drills vividly. We had two types. One was dive
under your desk, right forearm across the back of your neck and
left forearm to "brace" your head against your knees. Even then
many of us thought WTH...how would that protect us from a bomb??

Then....we had drills where everyone went to the hallways and
"got into position" in the dark with the door shut tight.

Fortunately, I was a social kid and it was a fun diversion for me
BUT I'm assuming there were kids who were traumatized.

Our local schools have lockdowns at least twice a year..looking
for drugs. No potty breaks. No open doors. Geez. For some
reason it doesn't seem to phase difficult child. DDD


Well-Known Member
Our school has them, too.
Donna, been there, done that... very weird stuff. Were we really that ignorant?


Active Member
I spoke with the principal and they just do the one lock down drill per year (so I guess if you're a bad guy, invade the school first semester as they haven't trained the kids yet??)

We are going to put it in his IEP that he is to be taken on an "errand" to the other school (next door) so that he doesn't have to participate or know about it.


Active Member
I looked it up. Less than 8 children per year were killed in school shootings in 2000-2005. Any child is 5.7 times more likely to die from HIV than to die as a victim of a school shooting; they are 109 times more likely to take their own lives than to die as a result of a school shooting.

So, basically, we traumatize our children because the media sensationalizes the very few school shootings.


Well-Known Member
Staff member

I understand your concern and I think you have come up with a good plan for your child.

I disagree, though, that we are needlessly preparing for what might be a rare event. Should we stop having tornado drills, too? Those are also rare events but they do happen as those poor parents in Alabama found out last month.

I also don't know of any cases where a child died in a school fire in the US but we certainly need to prepare for that possibility also. In fact, the fire department requires us to have at least one fire drill a month.

I'm glad though that you were able to find a way where the school could practice a lock down without traumatizing your child.



New Member
<span style='font-size: 14pt'> <span style='font-family: Georgia'> <span style="color: #663366"> while school shootings are statisically rare they do happen. it's after they happen that parents, kids & the media are questioning why these drills didn't take place so the kids knew what to do instead of having them run willy~nilly through the halls. in school that incidents have occurred & the kids had participated in the drills it saved many lives.

i realize your son has a high level of anxiety, but you seem to have a good alternative plan for him when the school runs these drills. in truth most of the kids think of them as a fun break from routtine. when i was in elementary school we had fire drills & oh yeah, neuclear bomb drills. in tornato areas these drills are also necessary. both of my kids have been in school during lockdowns....real ones. all went well because the kids were prepared.

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New Member
this burns me. they just don't think and it isn't just our difficult child's that get anxiety from these drills.

now our school has drills in conjuction with-local authorities. i was there once and told it was coming(they are a surprise for staff except office and principle) andt told that if i had to be somewhere that i needed to leave the school or be locked in for the next 1/2hr-45 min.

my school had to have a lockdown last wk cuz they couldn't find difficult child after he ran off during a time out. it was time for library and that was where he was going!


New Member
Here at our schools lock down drills are the same for all kinds of different emergencies- tornado, missing child, problems at courthouse/county jail (across the street from our early childhood, elem and middle school) gas leaks, water leaks, when there is a high speed chase going thru town, during drug searches, bomb threats, non custodial parents (or other "non authorized" persons) showing up at school, derailed trains, a child who has began to rage in the building, - so "lock down" covers so many emergencies.

Part of a lock down is for the safety of the kids, BUT another part of lockdown is that there is an easier time figuring out exactly where in the building each person is, so it is easier to know if someone is "missing" - in case evacuation becomes necessary, everyone is then gathered in specific places to make mass communication easier....very helpful and useful if electricity is out and PA systems, intercoms and phones are not working. and it provides some measure of safety becuz if everyone can quickly be accounted for, noone is wandering around seeking a missing child.

I heard one day a couple years ago via my newspaper that our school had been in lockdown the previous day. It made ME a little nervous and when the kids came home from school I asked them about it- and they shrugged. Then my kids informed me- they go into lockdown pretty often- sometimes a couple times per month- and they are NOT simply "drills" the kids take it with a grain of salt, without much more notice than how they proceed to an assembly or to cafeteria for lunch.
My kids tell me once they are in their lockdown place, with their respective lockdown supervisors in place, most of the time they still have educational instruction going on during lockdown. Very seldom do the kids know the reason a lockdown was called- and very seldom is a lockdown reported to the paper etc. In our school it is so common noone even thinks much about it. On one hand this likely decreases the stress and anxiety involved in being in lockdown, but on the other hand, it does sometimes make me wonder if the procedure loses some effectiveness becuz it is so common. But becuz it happens so often, it is usually carried out quite orderly, calmly and without incident.

When I worked in nursing homes with some independant residents, some ambulatory, some wheelchair bound but aware and many dementia residents, we were required by state law to practice often, - which could be quite complicated, - disrupting meals, naps, medication passes etc.......but the lessons were more important for the staff to practice than the patients, becuz we had to learn how to keep the residents calm, while at the same time getting them to safety and learning how to do our "census" taking so we would be able to be accountable for all the patients in our care. We used to resent the drills, BUT one particulary awful tornado season we wound up spending a huge amount of time in lockdown and yes, several tornados did hit all around us. But becuz we had practiced SO much, we had gradually learned how to handle the restless and anxious patients involved in lockdown. And the following year we had an alzheimers patient wander off, and since we were by a body of water and high speed freight train tracks, we went into lockdown to facilitate searching for the missing person. Ity permitted us to have minimal staff to supervise the other residents so some residents could do the search, and when the tracking dogs and helicopter came to assist in the search, the residents in lockdown seemed to take it all with a grain of salt as they were involved in their lockdown.

It is good that your school will permit accomodations concerning lockdowns, but------in case it is not just a drill.....will they still be able to accomodate? ANd if not, will your child have the knowledge or ability to do what needs to be done?


New Member
PS. oh yes, I also remember the drills for nuclear attack and bombs..........the civil defense preparedness etc.

On 9-11 I was a student nurse doing our very first day of on the floor clinical time in a major hospital, and when we started on duty, the very first thing that occured was the su pervisor showed up and told us to do an emergency census. None of us had any clue what the supervisor was talking about......and then we thought it was a prank on the new students. (us) Then with horror we realized it was not a joke.......and our hospital was preparing in the event that things might escalate and we needed to be ready. Whew! Talk about a scary first day! The good news is a few of us HAD already been working in the field for several years and once we figured out it was NOT a joke, we kinda figured out what to do and how to do it.
Yes, the drills are every bit as important for staff as for the kids or those persons for whom staff is responsible for.

To our surprise, we had a birthday party sleepover slumber party in a hotel one time, and around 4 am, (just as the kids fell asleep) a fire broke out in the hotel. Becuz the kids had some familiarity with emergency preparedness from the lockdowns at school- our evacuation was somewhat easier and the kids were not scared. The kids assumed it was a drill, and for some reason they assumed they would face disciplinary action from some "higher ups" if they did not follow direction to the letter- so I was able to get all the kids out safely and easily in no time at all. - even tho they had all just fallen asleep. I was grateful at that time that the kids had been well practiced for such an event. (It was quite scary to me to be in charge of not just my own children, but also other peoples children in such a middle of the nite, caught off guard emergency) But, the kids were well practiced and I was, too.


Active Member
There are over 72 million children in our country. If schools were truly interested in saving lives, they'd all have suicide prevention programs

There are over 1,000 tornadoes per year in this country and that count doesn't include dangerous high wind storms that don't funnel. In our area of the country, it is nigh impossible to get through school without needing to take shelter from a tornado. This is a drill that is necessary because the chance of it being used is very high.

Regarding fires, the death rate is even lower than school shootings, but there are on average 5,500 fires at schools each year (most minor). Add in all the false alarms that a kid pulls (where for safety reasons they must evacuate and need to progress in an orderly fashion). So, statistically, yes we need to keep fire drills too.

I think we are all in agreement that disaster drills need to be practiced. We could continue to debate the "need" for lock down drills to "keep us safe from the bad man". But the facts are that this is an incredibly rare event.