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What is everyone's experience with "intruder drills"?

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What is everyone's experience with "intruder drills"?
Old 08-17-2013, 09:53 AM
 
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Just this past year some of my school districts started intruder drills. I have not yet gone through one. But my question is this: are you, as a sub, trained at all for these?

The papers in our sub folders say to lock the classroom door, get the kids over to a safe area away from windows, etc.

Well, I'm not always given a classroom key as a sub - in some schools the custodian opens the door ahead of time, and the teacher has not left a spare key. This happens at least half of the time. Since I sub in a lot of schools (I'm in several districts) I don't always know where the best place in a room would be, not to mention those rooms that have LOTS of windows, and there is literally nowhere to hide.

Also, if you have done this before, what has the response of the kids been?


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Old 08-17-2013, 10:56 AM
 
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I have not been formally trained but I know the district procedures and have experienced a few Shelter in Place drills and actual intruders on school grounds. We are to lock the doors, close the windows, move the children to a corner where they cannot be seen through the windows, sit them down and remain calm and quiet.

I am always given keys, I would suggest asking how administration wants you to proceed if you cannot lock the doors.
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Old 08-17-2013, 12:49 PM
 
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I've never gotten formal training but have done many of these. It used to be that the neighbor teacher was supposed to come lock my door. (I don't get a key) Since security has become such and issue everywhere, we are supposed to keep the door locked all the time. We can prop it open or use a flat magnet over the strike plate. If the drill or alarm is sounded we just shut the door or pull the magnet out and we are locked.

Most of the time the kids have already done them before so they know where to go. I usually make a big deal about how they should remain silent the whole time. Most kids think it's time to talk and mess around. I make sure the older kids especially know how serious this drill really is.
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Old 08-17-2013, 01:07 PM
 
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I'm surprised your district is only just now starting these. I had my first one as a sub the day after the VA Tech shooting, in what? 2007? (Yes, I've been subbing for WAY too long. ) For that one, I had no training and no advance notice (which I think the regular teachers got), but was asked afterwards if/how I'd known what to do. (Yes, because I'd student-taught at another school in the district and learned the procedures there, and just decided to do that and hope it was the same in the building I was in that day.)

As far as keys, my district always gives subs keys. We've got an online form to fill out if that doesn't happen. So fortunately, that's a non-issue for me. For you, I agree with the PP who said you should ask whoever checks you in what you should do in a lockdown without a key.

Quote:
Also, if you have done this before, what has the response of the kids been?
Mostly, they're used to it and it's no big deal. I have had a couple of kids freak out, though.
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Well
Old 08-17-2013, 03:05 PM
 
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My district still doesn't give out keys. Sometimes the teacher will leave his or hers. This is most common for long term assignments. Sometimes if asked the custodian or principal will let me use an extra key. But MOST of the time, nope! No key. In those cases I have the custodian lock the door for me, where I can still open the door from the inside but it's locked outside. Occasionally somebody will close the door when I go on lunch or to the bathroom or whatever. I just get the custodian to open and lock it again.

The drill is the standard drill.


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This is one of several articles
Old 08-17-2013, 04:38 PM
 
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about the lack of a key for the Sandy Hook substitute and her students who were killed.

Who knows if a key would have helped, but I'm certainly asking for one and citing the story when I sub.
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Old 08-17-2013, 06:19 PM
 
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I don't know if our full-time teachers receive formal training for drills. They are given instructions and the instructions are posted in the classrooms for emergency procedures.

Subs not getting a key to a classroom is a MAJOR red flag to me, and I've seen numerous previous posters state they don't get a key. All our schools issue keys.

If there is a lockdown/intruder drill or heaven forbid, a real danger exists that warrants all rooms be locked down? I would not want to depend on another teacher to come and lock my door when he or she is busy keeping his or her own students safe - and depend on them to remember I'm the helpless sub next door who can't lock the door.

We have had lockdown drills, but a lot of times, we review what to do with the kids. They do very well and follow directions. Most of the time, the staff is told in the morning that some type of drill will be happening so we're prepared. We have to have fire drills once a month, and the majority of times it's on the last day of the month because the administrator realizes, "Oops, we haven't had our drill yet!"

We discussed having one the Monday after the Sandy Hook incident. I happened to be subbing in Kindergarten that day. The staff felt strongly it was too soon and might scare the students, so it was done later in the week.
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For the suggestion box
Old 08-18-2013, 07:06 AM
 
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In spite of being small and rural... our school has handled this well. The key issue was resolved by hanging a key (high enough so the little ones can't reach it) on the door jamb near the evacuation plan and fire drill information. This might be a suggestion for places that haven't addressed the issue.

I have developed the habit of checking for it, then making a tour of the room while thinking about "what if" when I first enter a classroom. It only takes a few seconds and helps me feel prepared.

My experience with emergencies (fire drills don't really count, the kids get used to them and know what to do) is that they key (no pun intended) is to remain calm and focused. "We're just doing things a little differently today." During one event (first grade) my line leader started crying and saying, "Mr. B, I'm scared!" I sorta broke a policy and took her hand. Most of the kids were curious, some were excited but they responded well to direction and control.

One of my funniest fire drill experiences happened while reading with one student (not responsible for a class). When the alarm he sounded, he headed for the door and I had to catch up to him. He noticed I was still carrying the book we'd been reading and said, "Mr. B., you're not supposed to take anything with you during a fire drill. You need to put that back!"
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Old 08-18-2013, 07:29 AM
 
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In my district there are no doors on the classrooms. We were built during the days of "open concept" so our rooms are open to each other. That being said, we do have emergency drills and the local police have told us that lights out, kids out of sight and quiet will do the trick. the intruder is in a hurry and looking for targets quickly, knowing that the police will arrive soon. they will not waste time at every door.
Also, we do not share the emergency procedures with subs as a general rule. If there will be a lockdown, the principal will go to the subs that morning and tell them what to do. They feel that there are so many subs coming in that it would be unwise to share the info with all of them. Just like we don't share specific plans with parents they just know that we have a plan.
A lot of doors have to be locked from the outside anyway, so it may not be safe to go out and lock it. An intruder could see you and know there are kids on that room. i have seen something that hooks on the door handle so the door can stay locked but be used. That way in an emergency you just remove it and are in lockdown. Maybe that would be a suggestion for rooms with a sub.
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Old 08-18-2013, 09:34 AM
 
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Quote:
If there will be a lockdown, the principal will go to the subs that morning and tell them what to do.
That works for a drill. For a real emergency, it's pretty unconscionable. I think it's sad--and kind of offensive--that your district has so little trust in, or respect for, subs.


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Old 08-18-2013, 09:42 AM
 
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I will not work for a district that does not trust me enough to give me a key.
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Old 08-18-2013, 10:25 AM
 
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grav def - I have to agree with you on that one.

I really think that in my districts where I sub, it is so new that they haven't worked through all the bugs yet. It really didn't start until after Sandy Hook - I mean, for the front door, people have always had to buzz in, but the classroom procedures and drills didn't even start until this spring. I will give them the benefit of the doubt and say that maybe they really haven't thought about it. So, I guess that it would be a good thing for me to speak up. Because while I agree that procedures/drills/etc., are beneficial, as grav def said, in a real emergency I (and other subs) could be in serious trouble.

Until then, I like the idea of asking for the door to be locked (some of my schools already do this), and I will start carrying a flat magnet in my school bag for being able to get back in the room.

I guess the thing that still bothers me is the lack of a safe spot in some classrooms. I'm thinking of one school in particular, where one entire wall is floor-to-ceiling glass, which adjoins a hallway. There is literally NO place in that room where you can't be seen!
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Intruder drills
Old 08-18-2013, 12:26 PM
 
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I've been involved in a lock down drill and a REAL lock-down.

Generally the procedures for fire & lockdown drills are in the sub handbook or at least in the teacher's emergency folder.

The real lockdown I experienced was at at elementary school during lunch time. And.... they don't give keys; however, they do keep the door locked. I had another adult with me, and we grabbed the few kids that were in the hallway, shut the door, closed the blinds, turned off the light and hid under tables. We tried to make it as stress-free, but serious for the kids (1st graders). I'd say we were on lock down for about 10 minutes.
Turns out it was a false alarm. But it was still pretty scary at the time. I definitely learn my classroom when I go in for the day.
Where is the emergency folder/backpack?
Where are hidden areas in the classroom?

**All this before Sandy Hook
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Keys left in mailbox
Old 08-18-2013, 06:08 PM
 
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The teachers in my school leave the keys in their mailbox. We were against this at first, but it works out well. The subs can get the key in the morning, use it to lock/unlock doors when leaving and also use it if there is a drill. At the end of the day it is returned to the mailbox. The teachers also have to have their keys on lanyards and wear them at all times with id.
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Not trusting subs...?
Old 08-19-2013, 05:44 AM
 
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I have to agree with those who object to the idea that subs can't be trusted with a key. Is the problem security or the hiring process? I do think there are "levels" of trust--I don't want to know intimate details regarding a kid's grades, home life, etc. But I also think there's a huge problem (in general) with subs not being seen as professionals by administration--admittedly we have contributed to that, but we also haven't expected enough and don't always contribute enough to earn that respect. I have made several suggestions to administration (not just about evacuations and fire drills) because it's very easy to overlook a detail when policies are being written. (Some have joked, "Those who can't do teach. Those who can't teach develop policies and curriculum for those who do.") Many have been implemented and I've actually been asked to "consult" from a sub's point of view. I'm inclined to suggest that if a sub hasn't the tools or knowledge to protect his kids, she needs to do something about it.
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Old 08-19-2013, 06:41 AM
 
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I'm happy to hear that you are consulting as a sub, because we definitely need a voice. There are, as I'm sure ALL of you know, so many things that could be improved upon.

One of my pet peeves is the whole trust issue. Two areas where I've seen that happen that drive me the craziest are - the desk and the SMART board access.

The desk doesn't happen very often, but occasionally a teacher will leave his/her desk LOCKED! WHAT???? So many things that students ask for/need are located in that desk! I can understand one locked drawer for personal things, but the whole desk??? Please.

The other thing is SMART board access. This has ended up being a 50/50 occurrence for me. If you don't want to leave your password for a sub, fine - but please leave it for a trusted colleague or someone in the office so that they can log on for me. The worst times are when I'm in an elementary classroom, and there are so many posters, visuals, etc. up on the board that there is literally nowhere to write. If they don't at least have a big easel with paper, I'm toast. I'm soooooooo appreciative when teachers let me use their SMART board!!!

I've been trying to so full-time, and one thing I do know is that when I get a job, my subs will be treated like royalty.
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Old 08-19-2013, 10:55 AM
 
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As a sub I've been in two, one the school evacuated the students to a church down the road and the other we were instructed to "shelter in place." Meaning that we needed to move the kids to a dark corner of the room away from the windows and door.

In both cases I was left with the impression that these were being done to show off how prepared the district was. Kids were annoyed at having to walk 1/2 mile down the road and with having to crowd in next to each other (6th graders).
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Old 08-21-2013, 11:13 AM
 
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Some of our buildings don't give subs keys either. I simply won't sub in those buildings. If ALL the buildings were like this I would go straight to the P and if that didn't work I would go to the HR dept for the district.

We have been having these drills for years. We are supposed to keep our doors locked anyway.

In the mean time, I would have custodian let you in each and every time so that it stays locked. The custodian and office will eventually complain enough they fix the issue
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Yes but...
Old 08-22-2013, 03:01 AM
 
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One reason I wouldn't use this alternative (as I understand it)... you're on your way back from recess or a special... one (or more) of your kids runs ahead, into the classroom and slams the door shut. Now you're at their mercy... until somebody gets there with a key.
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