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Lockdown in Schools

Terminology is very important. Plans should clearly identify when “Lockdown” versus other terminology is to be utilized.  Terminology used to order a lockdown, should be plain language, clear and leave no misunderstanding as to what is expected.

“Lockdown” should only be used when there is a major incident or threat of school violence within the school, or in relation to the school. The over or misuse of lockdowns, will result in staff/students becoming desensitized and they will not take lockdowns seriously.

“Hold and Secure” should be used when it is desirable to secure the school due to an ongoing situation outside and not related to the school (e.g., a bank robbery occurs near a school but not on school property). In this situation, the school continues to function normally, with the exterior doors being locked until such time as the situation near the school is resolved.

“Shelter in Place” should be used for an environmental or weather related situation, where it is necessary to keep all occupants within the school, to protect them from an external situation. Examples may include chemical spills, blackouts, explosions or extreme weather conditions.