Most of us will never know firsthand the adrenalin-fueled fear and stress felt by teachers and students in a lockdown situation.
The ability to act quickly and make critical decisions to maximize safe outcomes in a potentially dangerous situation, while under extreme stress, has traditionally been expected of astronauts and emergency room surgeons, not teachers. But given today’s rash of school violence, we are asking teachers to do exactly that.
Most teachers chose their vocation because they wanted to help educate children. Now they are finding themselves in a position they never wanted or anticipated. It is our responsibility, as citizens, parents and educators, to help keep the focus on learning as much as we possibly can, while still providing the means for fast response and protection of each individual classroom.
To do this, we need to reduce stress on teachers during lockdown situations by making it as easy as possible to get the classroom door safely locked and latched. And, it goes without saying, we need to give teachers a way to quickly do so without creating additional danger for them or their students.
This means we can’t have teachers going out into the hall to secure doors that only lock from the outside, as many classroom doors do now. It means we can’t give them barricades which trap them in the room and make it impossible for first responders to enter.
Upholding our responsibility to teachers and students means we need to give them the most effective and cost-efficient solution to secure their classroom doors – fast, easily and with minimum confusion – at what could be the most frightening moment of their lives. In doing so, we can keep teachers teaching, instead of worrying – while providing a safe and secure environment that is more conducive to learning.