How do schools handle crises?

Lockdown drill
In this 2003 file photo, a kindergarten teacher prepares her students for a classroom lockdown drill in Oahu, Hawaii.
Photo by Phil Mislinski/Getty Images

The shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary triggered a lockdown plan that teachers and students had practiced - and in fact, activated - on many occasions.

From the Washington Post:

Joseph Wasik, 42, wasn't too worried when his wife, Lynn, called to say she had received a text alert from the school. Like schools nationwide, Sandy Hook had been on lockdown before, always for events that turned out to be nothing. Earlier this year, reports of a loose bear seen in town had activated the system.

This is a protocol that parents, teachers and students are familiar with across the county, including here in Minnesota. In the wake of last week's shooting, Lucie Amundson wrote a commentary for MPR News recounting her experience waiting outside her children's elementary school during a lockdown:

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A state trooper approached me in the parking lot with an upheld hand. I wouldn't be allowed inside; the school was in lockdown. His words didn't really make sense to me. Hearing Friday's news from Newtown, Conn., I suspect words like these never do.

"A drill?" I asked, just as a dozen emergency vehicles arrived on the scene. Officers and firefighters moved with a practiced and fearsome urgency. The trooper never answered.

On the Daily Circuit Wednesday, Dec. 19, guests Larry Guggisberg, superintendent of the Roseau Public School District, and Rick J. Kaufman, executive director of community relations and emergency management for Bloomington Public Schools, join us to discuss how Minnesota schools respond to all types of crises.


School shootings: Are Minnesota schools prepared? (Daily Circuit)

Commentary looking at Minnesota's schools crisis management in the wake of Newtown (The Star Tribune)

Special coverage of the 2005 school shooting at Red Lake (MPR News)