One of the ideas that we have to understand as a company that provides lockdown and lockout safety systems is that sometimes people are worried by the idea of installing a system and implementing lockdown and lockout protocols simply because they are now thinking about the fact that these events occur.
One statement we hear from parents is, “I don’t want my kids to feel like they aren’t safe at school or they are in some kind of prison". As most of us at The LockOut Company are parents with school-age children ourselves, we completely understand this position. We want to make sure our kids are safe at school, and we want to make sure they feel safe there as well. What we’ve found is quite the opposite of our, and other parents’ concern. We’ve found that students actually seem to feel safer at schools once The LockOut System is installed and they’ve gone through their lockdown training.
We started asking ourselves why this seemed to be the case after talking with students and put together this short list of reasons why students feel safer after their school installs a lockdown system. This is by no means a complete list, but it does give a little insight into how students feel about school safety and lockdown systems.
Reason 1: They Understand Why It’s Important To Have a Lockdown System
Young people are smart, really smart, and they often understand what’s going on in a deeper manner than we give them credit for. Students understand the potential dangers that could enter their school. They organize, they march, they ask for, and demand change and action to protect them in their schools; so when their administrators take serious, controllable action and begin to implement a lockdown system, they are usually behind the decision because it was made based on the idea that they should have a safe place to learn and grow.
They may want more change and they may have more ideas, but students, even young students, don’t seem to be afraid of the idea of a lockdown system being installed in their school, as is sometimes their parents’ concern, rather, they understand that it’s one step that is being taken in the right direction. Students know we can’t always control potential dangers, and they want to be prepared in case those dangers ever come to them. Which brings us to our second reason students often feel safer after the implementation of a lockdown system.
Reason 2: They Feel Prepared
Preparation is not the same as acceptance that an event will occur. Young people today live in a world far different than the one in which many of us grew up. As we mentioned previously, they understand the tragedies that they’ve seen when a dangerous person harms those in a school, they’ve empathized with the victims of senseless violence, and they’ve decided that being prepared doesn’t necessarily mean accepting that a worst-case scenario may happen at their school.
We said it previously and we’ll say it again, young people are smart, they want to feel prepared, and we believe that students of all ages can be, and feel, prepared for lockdown situations. When we implement systems, training, and safety protocols in schools, the students, even the youngest students, don’t look like a deer in the headlights, they work, they prepare, they try to understand each element of their changing way of going about their school day.
We believe in being prepared, and we also believe in tailoring each experience with The LockOut System for the appropriate age-group. It’s not necessary to throw everything at young children, but it is important to prepare them and ensure they can respond quickly in a lockdown situation to keep themselves safe. Students don’t want to be treated like they don’t understand what’s going on, they want to be treated like participants who can be valuable participants should a difficult situation arise, and it is through preparation that we can help them feel this way.
Step 4: Work with Local Authorities
Honestly, this could be step one on any list. Our local police are an abundant resource for every step of the safety and security process. Police and other first responders have protocols in place for threat scenarios, and, in our experience, they are always willing to work with you to improve your protocols, provide training, and in some cases, even modify certain procedures on their end to create a strategy that works around your needs. Working with the people who are sworn to protect and serve may seem entirely obvious, but we’ve experienced several scenarios where the link between building administration, be it schools, offices, government buildings, or other locations, and police, has never been utilized to its full potential.
Reason 3: They Feel More Powerful
A lockdown. For any reason, is a scary situation. Even a non-worst-case scenario can be terrifying to students. We wrote previously about the psychological effects of lockdowns on students, and one of the biggest fears students seemed to have was that they felt like they weren’t in control, that they were powerless. Implementing a lockdown system helps provide some of that power back to the students. It gives them the ability to focus on what they can do if a dangerous person comes to their school, or a dangerous event happens.
“Not knowing what’s happening" is a common cause for fear in the event of a lockdown, but with mobile apps, and communication and alert systems, students are given information if an event occurs. It is through this information, as well as the training and preparation that they receive and the safety protocol changes they experience, that they can feel empowered to take control of the situation. They feel like they can fight back, that they aren’t just passengers waiting for something to happen to them.
We believe this is a very important aspect of any system, the ability to not only make the students and staff we are trying to protect safer, but also the ability to help them feel safer.
Talk With Your Student
There’s no perfect answer to helping students feel safe at school. We only hope that we can better understand how students feel about school safety, and hope that after a lockdown system is implemented, they feel safer than before, more in control than before. One of the best ways to see how your student is feeling about it is to talk to them. We know that when the LockOut System is implemented in schools, we try to make, and hope that, students feel safer, because schools should be a safe place, and learning and growing should be a student’s number one priority.
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