School lockdown? No. When the shit hits the fan, run for it.

Dear Bursar,

Thank you for your reply.  It seems that ‘someone’ has decided that a lockdown is required as a policy, and then you have tried to imagine scenarios which would make such a response necessary.

While a fire drill seems eminently advisable, with the emphasis on escape, the other scenarios you mention would not suggest a lockdown as the correct response at all, but an evacuation.
A lockdown would waste time as the threat such as toxic gas approaches and, it exacerbates and extends the period of risk.
It seems that what you are asking for is permission to lockdown the school, and then handing over all responsibility for all the people in the school to the Emergency Services.
This seems most inappropriate to the risks you list out, and in practice is unworkable.
The school must take responsibility if there is an intruder, or a civil disturbance, and try to get the children and staff away from the threat, not lock them down in situ, and wait for government bureaucracies to tell you what to do.
If there is air pollution coming towards the school, it seems especially ill-advised to keep the children and staff there, and not to get them away.
Those who survive school shootings do so as they get away, and not sit in classrooms while an intruder or intruders combs through a well populated target-rich area.
Equally if there is a major fire nearby, the best course of action would be to evacuate the school
and get everyone out of the way.
As for a dangerous dog, I think you’re really struggling to find a situation where a lockdown would be the correct response.
It is quite clear from your letter that you are suggesting the school hands over all responsibility for all the perceived threats to the Emergency Services.
This is legally an abdication of responsibility and shows that the school has not thought through what it must do.
You should list out threats where you should evacuate the school and explain how this would be done, not force people to sit it out in a high threat environment.
Locking down seems a most inappropriate response, and likely to make matters worse in every case.
That is in addition to the legal concerns.  Have you checked out the legality of a lockdown of the school?
Which government department is pushing you to comply with a lockdown strategy?
If the school is really doing all this alone, then why is there no common sense being applied, and there is only one solution to all threats, regardless of appropriateness?
Here is your list.
A reported incident / civil disturbance in the local community (with the potential to pose a
risk to pupils, staff and visitors in the school)
– An intruder or intruders on the school site (with the potential to pose a risk to pupils, staff
and visitors)
– A warning being received of a risk locally of air pollution (smoke plume, gas cloud etc.)
– A major fire in the vicinity of the school where evacuation from other areas may cause
– The close proximity of a dangerous dog roaming loose.
– A crisis situation in Shrewsbury having the potential to affect the school.
– On the advice of the emergency services.
I am not happy to have my children locked down while they are facing threats from which they need to escape.
I would take the analogy of the escape from fire, and develop it.
If a gunmen or gunmen are approaching with evil intent, do not head for your classroom, or stay there, but run.
People will do this anyway, and all attempts to lockdown will soon be made impossible as survival instincts take over.
It would be better to direct the impulse to escape and provide avenues, than needlessly create a nice target of sitting ducks.
I think you need to get back to the drawing board.
Yours sincerely,
Henry Curteis


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