Protecting students in the age of mass shootings

Lockdown, lockout protocol vary from region to region


School should be a safe place for children to learn and seek a higher education. When events arise that could potentially put students in harm’s way, all schools have procedures in place to keep their students safe and secure.

Recently, Cascade Middle School in Eugene was put on lockdown after Charles Landeros, the parent of a Cascade student, was forced to leave the campus. According to the report released by the Lane County District Attorney’s office, Landeros began struggling with the officers escorting them out of the building. Landeros pulled a gun and fired two shots at the officer during the struggle. One of the officers proceeded to pull his gun and fire at Landeros, striking them in the temple. The report stated that the death of Landeros had no malicious intent and that it was done strictly for the protection of the students. The school was then put in an immediate lockout to ensure the safety of the students. The school remained in lockout until after all students left the school at 4 o’clock.

Most school lockdown and lockout procedures are similar. In a lockdown, the school locks the door to every entrance and classroom and students are required to stay in the classrooms they are in until the campus is declared secure by the authorities on the scene. In a lockout, all entrances are locked but school remains in session as usual. Students are not allowed to leave the building until the lockout has ended.

Although the procedures are similar nationwide, the requirement for these procedures to be put in place varies from place to place. Any situation that could cause harm to students warrants a lockdown, unless the authorities believe the situation is under control and students are not in any danger. As the authorities have developed a better control over school campuses and responses to various situations, lockdowns are needed less frequently than they used to be.

Graphic by Lucien Guidotti-Lawrence // The Torch

Teachers and faculty work to make schools a comfortable learning environment and to give students a safe place to learn. Lockdowns can often take away from the comfort of the students if there is a possibility that they are in harm’s way. Unfortunately, with the rise of the frequency of school shootings and events related, school security has had to be constantly improving.

Faculty members are constantly being trained to handle situations like the incident at Cascade and ones alike to keep everyone as safe as possible. Schools run drills on a monthly basis to keep students informed on what to do in case of disasters like earthquakes, fires and active shooters on campus. Authorities and school district safety officers are continuously working to improve the effectiveness of these procedures and to keep schools as safe as possible.