Lockdown Procedures

March 23, 2018 Opinion , OPINION/NEWS , United States

MTE photo



Jennifer Hernandez



At the Minnesota middle school where I teach English, we had a recent advisory lesson about lockdown drills. The lesson emphasized that, statistically speaking, kids are safer at school than in their own homes. The sixth graders were unnaturally still and quiet during this presentation, even for a sleepy Monday morning.


After the slides, the students started with the questions and the what ifs. Is the narrow glass window in the classroom door bulletproof? (I don’t know.) Should we push furniture against the door as a barricade? (Not during the drill.) What if the bad guys get the keys to the classroom? (That would be bad.)


Walking into the hallway after advisory, the student who asked about the keys told me that the reason she brought it up was because at her school in Africa, that’s how it happened. The bad guys stormed into the principal’s office and tore the keys from his hand. Armed with knives, they headed for the classrooms. She ran for her life, along with her classmates and teachers, climbed the school walls and headed into the bush — this smiling girl with the musical laugh and copper-colored braids who raises her hand eagerly to answer every question.


She ran for her life, and her mother brought her to America where they live with an uncle, so she would be safe and could go to a school where masked men with knives don’t burst into schools and kidnap young girls. To America, where we hide in the dark in locked classrooms and pray that angry young men with AR-15s will pass by our silent rooms, will be fooled into thinking they’re empty, will spare us from becoming prey.





Jennifer Hernandez

Jennifer Hernandez is a proud K-12 public school teacher and a writer of poetry, flash, and creative non-fiction. Much of her recent writing has been colored by her distress at the dangerous nonsense that appears in her daily news feed. She is marching with her pen. Recent work appears in New Verse News, Rise Up Review and Writers Resist.

Editor review


No Comments Yet!

You can be first to comment this post!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.