Mandated Lockdown Drills: Frequently Asked Questions

In accordance with a new state law (HB 422), all schools in Ohio must now hold a lockdown drill every year, just as we hold fire drills and tornado drills. These lockdown drills will take place in each Shaker school sometime before winter vacation. The School District’s lockdown protocol was developed with the assistance of the Shaker Heights Police Department. Our goals at all times are to protect the safety of our students and staff, to keep parents informed, and to prevent any unnecessary anxiety.

What is a lockdown?

This procedure is to be used in the event of an incident that requires that students, staff and authorized visitors remain in classrooms or other secure areas. A lockdown could be used in the event of an intruder in the school.

What happens in a lockdown drill?

The lockdown drill will be announced over the school’s public address system. Students and adults will be required to clear halls and other open spaces and go to the closest classroom or other area that provides some cover. Students should go to the nearest classroom, even if it is not their normal classroom.

Teachers will make a list of everyone in the room and will communicate with administrators and safety forces through prearranged signals. The Police Department will direct the drills and make recommendations for improving procedures.

It is important for students to remain calm and quiet, and to follow staff members’ instructions at all times. The drill is expected to take about 20 minutes. Classes will resume normal activity when the drill has been completed.

How have the schools prepared for lockdown drills?

Principals have developed their building plans with the assistance of the Shaker Heights Police Department and the central office. Teachers and other staff members are receiving detailed instructions on conducting the drills and will prepare their students.

What steps are being taken to avoid frightening children?

Teachers will explain the drill to students in advance, using age-appropriate language. Parents may also wish to discuss the drills with their children, emphasizing that they are for practice, just like fire drills. 

How would parents be notified in the case of a real lockdown or other serious incident?

The School District would use several means of communication, depending on availability. These include the website (http://shaker.org/), the broadcast telephone system, and/or news media. Parents should make sure that the school has current phone numbers at all times.

What are the schools doing to prevent intruders from coming in?

Every Shaker school has a designated door for visitors; other doors are locked during the school day. Visitors must sign in and anyone without a visitor pass is to be reported to the office immediately.

Our best defense against intruders is vigilance. Adults and students who see any suspicious person, observe behavior that causes concern, or hear of any threat should notify an administrator right away.

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