School safety expert says transparency during school lockdowns is needed

Posted at 3:36 PM, Dec 27, 2018

School lockdown. It's a term that has become far too common in America.

An analysis by the Washington Post found more than 4.1 million students were involved in at least one lockdown in the 2017-2018 school year.

One million of those students were in elementary school.

Just this month, a lockdown at Sandy Hook Elementary occurred on sixth anniversary of the nation's worst school massacre in history.

Another this month happened at Columbine High School.

"Being able to have the capacity to lockdown a school effectively is a really important safety tool,” says Amanda Klinger, a school safety educator and advocate.

Klinger says although school lockdowns are needed, how they are conducted can be traumatic for students.

“There is a cost,” she explains. “There is a cost to emotional anxiety cost.”

Data shows 15 percent of all school lockdowns are related to threats, including bomb threats. Another 15 percent is related to police manhunts, and at least 61 percent were related to firearms.

Klinger says for student’ mental well-being, we have to do better job communicating why they’re going on lockdown.

She says schools should be more transparent with students, parents, and staff to help them better understand the situation and not promote panic.

“We're going into a level 1 lockdown because they're serving a warrant in the neighborhood, so everyone can go, ‘OK, I’m not going to die today, probably, but we're just not going to go outside for recess,’" she says.

Klinger says we should empower instead of intimidate.