SOMERS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — With the start of school comes the start of emergency drills, where students learn to hide from possible shooters.
These lockdown drills can be scary to some kids. CBS2’s Cindy Hsu found out what to do when children get anxious about these safety exercises.
On Thursday, Dawn Stanczuk was getting her classroom ready and her kids were helping. Six-year-old Julia is her youngest and already knows she does not like emergency drills.
“I just don’t like the drills, the noise, so I get nervous about the drills,” Julia said.
Stanczuk said she is all about safety, when her kids and students get anxious.
“We just focus on the we’re trying to keep them safe, and on the safety aspect of it. I don’t think we get into too much detail, honest but simple,” she said.
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Troy Klein is 8 and already knows the importance of lockdown drills.
“I think that they’re really safe for you because if you’re in actually one than you could like die,” Troy said.
John LaPlaca is a security expert who works with hundreds of schools. He walked Hsu through what happens during a lock-down drill. First, there’s an alert or alarm and you hear the words “Lockdown! Lockdown! Lockdown!” Then teachers jump into action.
“The first step is to actually look outside my room, sweep the area try to draw anyone that’s in the hallway into my room,” LaPlaca said. “Take my key, lock the door and move everyone to the safe zone of the room, which would be in the corner here. So that when someone is outside the room and they go by there they should reach a locked door and they should also look at the room and it appears unoccupied at that point.”
Dr. Raymond Blanch, the superintendent of the Somers School District in Westchester County, said if emergency drills are making your children anxious, stress how everyone is working to keep them safe.
“We have teachers who keep you safe. Your building principal is here to keep you safe. Your entire community is here to keep you safe,” Dr. Blanch said.
Make sure your child’s teacher is aware of the anxiety, and remember children will be watching how parents react.
“If we’re conveying the image to our children that, oh my God, something’s happening in our schools every single day and they’re fearful of that, they’re going to come to school scared,” LaPlaca said.
And school is where they should feel safe and secure.
In New York, students from kindergarten through high school are required to have 12 emergency drills each year. Of those, four of them are lockdown scenarios.