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Knight said he worries that when schools try to squeeze multiple drills into a few days or weeks, they become “some sort of gesture” rather than what lawmakers intended them to be.
Drills make a difference
According to the state Department of Public Safety, there are two types of lockdown procedures: a “lockdown with warning,” used for general emergencies, and the more serious “lockdown with intruder.” The second kind involves teachers bringing students to the nearest classroom, calling 911, locking doors and controlling movement. Rooms should be dark and quiet, and no one should be visible from windows or doors.
Knight said he’s seen schools’ familiarity with lockdown drills make a difference. Last year, the Eastern Carver County district had a “very legitimate threat” and the high school went into lockdown. Had schools not had a crisis plan and experience doing drills, “It would have been chaotic, no one would have known what to do,” he said.
“They are absolutely essential,” Lageson said of the drills. “There are some states where you have to have one a month.”
Jason Polinski, a sergeant with the Lakeville Police Department, helped conduct an elaborate “active shooter” drill for Lakeville district employees last August. The training involved several scenarios, along with smoke and real blanks being fired.
The reason it’s important to have five lockdown drills — or more, if possible — is that they need to become routine, so everyone knows exactly what is expected, Polinski said.
Two weeks ago, Knight sent out letters offering help conducting drills to every school in his area, from Eastern Carver County public schools to local parochial and Montessori schools.
“God forbid we ever have a Waseca, or worst-case scenario, a Columbine,” he said. “ I want to be able to say I reached out to my schools and they were in compliance, and if not, how can I help you?”
Erin Adler • 952-746-3283