Today, mass shootings have become a frightening reality for the United States; CNN released statistics stating that there are, on average, seven mass shootings every week. According to a 2013 FBI study, school shootings account for 24.4% of all active shooter incidents, second only to businesses. Lockdown drills have become one of the only ways to prevent these incidents. On November 14, a school in Northern California narrowly avoided a school shooting thanks to the quick thinking of the students and staff, by immediately initiating a lockdown.
Webb executes annual drills for fires and earthquakes so we can practice the proper procedures to ensure safety in the event of an emergency. According to a survey in which 79 students evaluated Webb’s emergency preparedness, 76% of Webb students feel ready when it comes to fires and/or earthquakes at Webb. Practicing lockdown drills is important for students and faculty members alike, but when it comes to lockdowns, Webb students feel generally unprepared.
“We have not done a full [lockdown] drill in a few years, I think we have done them in the past,” says Dr. Theresa Smith, Assistant Head of Schools. “But we do provide faculty training and we do have a protocol.”
The protocol provides a step-by-step list of immediate actions which should be taken if weapons are observed on or near campus. This protocol has been reviewed with faculty members but not with students. Consequently, 70.9% of the Webb students who responded to the survey feel that they are unprepared in case of an active shooter on campus.
Lockdown drills would be a serious benefit to students, especially considering that not everyone will always be in the presence of an informed faculty member. Due to our wide open campus and absence of an all call system, a person walking around school alone at any time during the day would be unaware and vulnerable if a school shooting were to occur.
Fortunately, Webb does have an emergency communication system, in the form of text messages, which can be used to contact all staff and students during any situation. However, not many Webb students know about the existence of this system; therefore 72.3% of 76 Webb students who responded to the question say that they would feel safer if Webb did lockdown drills.
However, the feasibility of a lockdown drill on Webb’s campus must be taken into consideration. With a spacious campus such as our own, it is hard to imagine how we could successfully practice a lockdown. But if we can’t hold a drill for lockdowns, how are we expected to be able to lockdown in a real-life situation? Lockdown drills would be extremely beneficial for Webb students and although they might be hard to execute, it is most definitely worth it to try.