How to Behave In a School Lock Down

A school lock down is when students, teachers, and faculty are confined to their rooms due to a perceived or real threat. Throughout the school year, it is common for schools in the U.S. and Canada to repeat lock down drills so that students become habituated to a passive response in the face of life threatening danger. Drills can be scary and you might feel threatened, but if you behave properly, you will not get in trouble.


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    When a lockdown is called, go into hiding immediately and follow all instructions from a teacher or administrator.
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    Tell a teacher immediately if you know anyone who is doing this as a joke. Student lies may cause other schools in the area to go into severe lockdown.
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    Lock the door however you can. Whether it's putting a chair against the door or using a key. Make sure you can still escape quickly in case there is a fire or other dangerous situation in the area where you are locked down.
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    There are two types of lockdowns, soft and hard lockdowns. The principal will usually say which one it is. In a soft lockdown, you can continue your classroom activity, but you keep the door locked and should not leave the room. In a hard lockdown you must do any thing to make it look like nobody is inside, most of which are included in this article. A soft lockdown is sometimes called a lockout.
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    Close the windows and put the blinds down. Turn off lights. This way, it will make the room seem empty from the outside.
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    Try to find a place where no one can see you. Cupboards, windowless rooms, and cubicles are all good places.
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    Get into the nearest room if you are not in one. Make sure its not an office or off limits room.
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    Pull your feet up on the toilet and lock the door if you are in the bathroom. Don't make any noise at all.
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    Don't talk or make any movements. Try not to laugh, cough, or sneeze.
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    Stay where you are until someone comes around and unlocks the door for you. Do not open the door for anyone.
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    Have a teacher call and get a police officer over immediately if police did not investigate the school.
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    Stay calm. Do not cry and do not trust anyone you don't know (except police, fire-fighters, detectives or anyone else in authority. You are expected to follow their orders without question, even if it may appear to increase the danger you face).
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    Stay Off Your Cellphone, or even better, put your phone in Airplane Mode! The offender could possibly sabotage the wireless communications between cellphones and read messages and other data being sent and received. This could result in the offender finding out where you are. It can also worry other friends and family members to know you are in a lockdown. Text them after the threat is over, and say you are okay.
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    If the fire bell rings, do not come out of hiding.
    It was probably set off by the offender to trick you into coming out of hiding. If you smell smoke, or there is a real fire, than it may be necessary to evacuate. Your teacher or principal will tell you what to do in the event of a real fire.
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    Come out of hiding when the CORRECT 'All Clear' code is received.
    This code will be different from school to school. Do not come out of hiding if the all clear message is incorrect. This could mean that the offender could be making your principal or administrator say it to trick you into coming out of hiding.


  • Try to stay calm and don't panic.
  • Under all circumstances, take responsibility for your own safety. Listen to figures in authority, but if they tell you to do something you are not happy with you are within your rights to say no, for instance, asking you to attack or reason with the shooter is something they should be doing, not you, and they shouldn't ask you to do so.
  • If there's a group of people in the room with you, try to hide in different places. If the shooter manages to get in the room that you're in, if you're hiding together, he/she might kill all of you if they find you. If you're hiding in different spots and they manage to find one of you, the others can still get help. It is possible to hide in places you normally wouldn't try to hide in.
  • If the classroom you're in doesn't have a lock on the door, get some heavy materials, such as desks, chairs, and bookcases, and press them against the door. However, don't block yourself in so that you cant escape quickly if you need to. If the room doesn't have a door, go to a room that does.
  • Make sure you don't leave any gaps in the blinds.
  • If there's a group of people with you, and the shooter manages to get in, don't try to reason with them. You won't be able to.
  • Take deep breaths through your nose if you are scared.
  • Try to hide under the desks or beside walls.
  • Use creativity along with common sense.
  • Don't talk at all. Make sure all lights are out and all blinds and doors are locked.
  • Stay away from windows if possible, so if the shooter does break windows, you have a lesser chance of getting cut by it.
  • If you are in a room with many windows, hide behind a unit such as the teacher's desk.
  • If you can't get in a safe room or closet, try to hide behind large objects like desks, filing cabinets, photocopiers, bookcases etc. that may protect you.
  • If you can't find any place to hide, it's just best to find the nearest exit there is and stay out. If the offender can see you either outside, heading for the exit, or if he/she can see you outside but through the windows, it's best to move away from the windows.
  • Don't cry. Chances are, it could be just a drill, so you don't need to panic.
  • If you are out in a school field and the shooter is outside, find the nearest tree or wall and hide behind it.


  • There is a risk of this procedure teaching learned helplessness[1] among students, resulting in a population that is unable to reasonably deal with threatening situations appropriately.
  • Do not open the door under any circumstances.
  • If you can see the offender, he/she can see you.
  • Stay away from windows. They can make you visible or they can break into shards if shot at.
  • If the fire alarm goes off do not evacuate the building unless told to by school personnel, police officers, members of the fire department, etc. (the fire alarm may have been sounded by shooter in an attempt to expose your location). You should be ready to evacuate on your own if you do encounter a fire.

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Categories: School Discipline