Thursday, October 2, 2008
Once in a while we get blaring reminders that the neighborhood where I work is not that safe. They usually come in the form of lock downs, which we had today.
A lock down means that there is police activity in the area and that staying inside is the safest place to be. We have to lock the doors, and no one goes out and no one comes in (even if someone is knocking) until we get the "all clear" announcement from the office. Sometimes we will hear sirens and helicopters outside and sometimes nothing at all. Lock downs are communicated to the office by the local police and usually last around half an hour. Two years ago, however, we had a lock down that was several hours long and went 90 minutes beyond the dismissal time at the end of the day. We are not allowed to release students for ANY reason during a lock down and many parents were very upset. That experience was very interesting.
The kids usually take lock downs seriously, although there are always a few that have seen way too many action movies and let their imaginations run wild. I know that I take them very seriously because my classroom is on the end of campus, which is "L-shaped." We're on the tip of the L and separated from the street by only a shoulder-high gate.
Today's lock down started around 9:55am and lasted until 10:30am. Our recess is 10:15-10:30 and I've learned that the best thing for the kids during a lock down is to give them something fun to do. I gave them some puzzle/game time in the room during their recess time inside, but the office arranged for postponed recess times and they were able to play outside anyway.
The reason for the lock down? It turns out that a man was running around wielding a knife at the park across the street from our school. Never a dull moment!