When we send our children to school, we consider these institutions as a haven of safety for them. Recent increase of crimes happening in schools have become alarming. Depending on the degree of threat against the whole institution, some schools initiate Hold & Secure or Lockdown procedures.
The Toronto District School Board explains the difference between the two.
Hold & Secure
Hold & Secure is a response to a threat and/or incident in the general vicinity of a school, but not on or very near to school property. School life continues as normal inside the school; however, as a precautionary measure, outer doors are locked and no one enters or leaves the building. Note: As a result of Secure Access Systems that are installed at TDSB Elementary schools, outer doors are typically locked during the learning day.
Lockdown is used in a serious emergency situation where the threat is inside a school, on or very near to school property. A Lockdown minimizes access and visibility in an effort to shelter students, staff and visitors in secure locations. Similar to a Hold & Secure, all outer doors are locked; however a Lockdown requires that all students be kept in classrooms or other designated locations and that inner doors also be locked where possible. Entry to, and exit from, the building is restricted to emergency services personnel only.
During a Lockdown, lights are turned off in the classroom/office, curtains/blinds are closed where possible, cell phone use is restricted and all people inside the building should remain quiet. During a Lockdown, school phones will not be answered as the administration is tending to the ongoing situation. As cell phone use is restricted, students are asked not to use phones until cleared to do so. It’s important to note that each school across the Toronto District School Board is required to practice two Lockdown drills per year to ensure students and staff know what to do in case of an emergency.
According to the blog article Campus Lockdown Explained gave a list of reasons why a school lockdown would take place:
- Ice Storm or Blizzard
- Severe Lightning
- Natural Disasters
- Person with a Firearm or Weapon Seen on Campus
- Gunshots on or Near Campus
- Bomb Threat
- Crime Taking Place on or Near Campus
- Kidnapping or Hostage Situation
- Hostile or Threatening Intruder on Campus
- Criminal Threats
- Chemical Spills or Gas Leaks
Lockdown drills are conducted in schools to make sure everyone knows what to do in case of emergency.