A UK mum was left dismayed when her child came home from school and revealed they had had a lockdown drill.
The seven-year-old arrived home from primary school and told her mum that they had to hide under desks while their teacher turned off the lights and locked the door in case of an emergency.
The confused parent turned to Reddit users for answers.
Comments on the post suggest that primary school children in the UK practising lockdown drills in case of an emergency might not be as uncommon as you would think, and many parents are in favour of them.
In the post, the anonymous mother, who is a teacher herself, explained what her child had said to her about the lockdown drill.
The anonymous mother told people on the platform that the drill involved the children hiding under their desks while the teacher turned off the lights and locked the door.
She wrote that her daughter had said: ‘I know what you’re thinking Mummy, but it’s not lockdown like Covid (I wasn’t thinking that). It’s in case a dangerous event that isn’t a fire is occurring on school grounds. But don’t worry because that’s very unlikely. She then described how they all hid under their desks while their teacher turned off the lights and locked the door.’
The concerned mother explained that while the school must have dealt with it well because her ‘anxiety riddled kiddo was very casual and calm about it’, she doesn’t want the drills to become a common practice in schools. She added, ‘Is this the States?’
The parent said she had never done a lockdown practice at the school where she works, and she hopes there is no intention to start.
She ended the post saying: ‘I have no interest in trying to get a bunch of teenagers to sit quietly under tables while I turn lights off and lock us in, and can’t imagine establishing any form of order afterwards!’
Unlike the mother, many Reddit users are not surprised by the drill practice being in place.
One said: ‘Pretty common these days. When my kids did it at primary school I was a bit shocked but I prefer they do it so that they at least have an idea what to do should something bad happen.
Imagine the carnage if they didn’t have some sort of prep. Getting my son out of the house is a 20 part procedure as it is.’
Another added: ‘It’s normal now, my kids’ schools do it occasionally. It’s pitched as being in case of a dangerous dog getting onto the grounds or an intruder.’
A third person wrote: ‘This isn’t that new, or that uncommon. Your school doesn’t do it, but maybe it should. I’ve been at three schools where we’ve practiced a lockdown, kids have been amazing. Have faith in your students and have faith in yourself to control it. Just because it hasn’t happened yet, doesn’t mean it won’t.’
The UK Government website states that all education buildings and places where childcare takes place should indeed have emergency plans, with the aim of being able to respond effectively in case of a serious problem.
Public health incidents, severe weather, criminal activity including bomb threats, and a cyber incident, are all among the government’s list of reasons for why schools should prepare an emergency plan.
One Reddit user explained: ‘I was supply teaching and we had to do a drill shortly after the Manchester bombing. Very sad and surreal.’
Another user added: ‘I did it in my school, we had drills and then one time someone tried to get in the school with a knife so we had to do it for real. We did it in my primary school as well and I left school quite a while ago.’
One user described the tactical way her child’s teacher dealt with a lockdown, she said: ‘They did one with my daughter’s reception class recently. She was so confused by it all. The teacher made it into a sort of game where they had to ‘hide from a swarm of bees’ which is quite a good idea for 4/5 year olds. Still seems crazy though, makes me wonder if we are expecting an attack?
Another said: ‘I don’t know why this is so baffling to you. It’s just a precaution for when there’s potential danger that evacuating is riskier than staying put.
While most commenters agreed the lockdown procedures are positive, others were much more sceptical.
One parent commented: ‘Weird. My kids have never had this at school. My wife (a teacher) never had this at any school she taught at. I never had it at any of the various different schools I went to.’
A teacher in the comments added: ‘Never done this in our schools either and I’m the same as you in being opposed to it starting.’
An additional teacher said, ‘I’m perfectly capable of controlling kids in a standard classroom situation. And I’m perfectly capable of handling an actual emergency situation. ‘Come on kids, everyone sit in silence under a table because I said so’ might work in primaries but with teenagers is going to cause a major headache.’
Another person said: ‘That’s absolutely ludicrous, I’d be in my best corporate battle armour and straight in to see the head. We’re not in the US, we don’t need to be introducing these kinds of anxieties.’
Another parent shared their anger and said: ‘I would be so mad if my kids’ school did this, particularly without my knowledge.
There is emerging evidence in the US to show that lockdown drills are much more mentally damaging to kids than we realise, even if they appear relaxed about them.
It may seem like an important exercise, but some believe it is necessary to weigh the possible trauma drills put children through against the likelihood of such an emergency occurring.
‘Is hiding in the dark really an appropriate response to danger?’, one commenter remarked.News TIOB News