What parents need to know about Modified Lockdowns and Full Lockdowns

As adults, when a fire alarm goes off we know it’s time to leave the building. It may or may not be a false alarm, but because we’ve been trained since we were little kids, we know how to react.

Most of us didn’t grow up doing lockdown drills at school. But today it’s a reality, and like fire drills, our kids will grow up knowing what to do in the event of a dangerous situation.

Modified Lockdown

Modified lockdowns are used frequently these days as a safety protocol. The modified lockdown assures a more controlled environment for students, allowing authorities and school administrators to look into and handle situations that are not putting students or staff in imminent danger. It also helps assure students and staff don’t walk into a situation unknowingly.

During a modified lockdown, entry and exit from the school is limited to that which is authorized by the Sheriff’s Department. A modified lockdown can look different based on the school and the situation. Classrooms may be asked to keep their blinds closed, recess may be canceled, etc.

The Pierce County Sheriff’s Department could put our schools into a modified lockdown or a full lockdown for a number of reasons:

  • Off-campus police activity that could pose a potential threat to a nearby school campus
  • An in-progress crime near a school
  • Information received about someone believed to be on their way to school who may be a threat
  • An actual or perceived threat to school occupants
  • An on-campus intruder, either inside or outside a school building

Full Lockdown

The purpose of a full lockdown is to move students, staff, and visitors into the nearest secured area to minimize their exposure to a potential threat, whether internal or external.

In the event of a full lockdown we respectfully ask that parents and family members not come to the school where the lockdown is currently in place. Not only does it put you in danger, but it diverts police attention away from the current situation. We also ask that parents and family members not call the school, as our phone lines are needed to communicate with first responders.

Parents should also not call or message students on their cell phones. In a lockdown situation students and staff are being as quiet as possible. Any noise from arriving messages or calls could alert an intruder to their location.

After a full lockdown, a modified lockdown may be used to help schools resume normal activities, while still maintaining a secure environment for staff and students.

Communication during a lockdown

We know how fast information (and misinformation) can travel in the world we live in today. In the event of a lockdown, we are working hand-in-hand with the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department. As they assess the situation and give us factual information to share, we will send information to you via phone, email, and text message. Be sure to check with your school office to make sure your contact numbers and email addresses are up to date. Calls to parents are always made first.

After parents are contacted directly, we will also communicate information via social media and our district website.

There may be more that you want to know about a given situation, however, we are not always in a position to share certain information because of privacy laws and ongoing investigations.

If you have any additional questions about lockdown drills and procedures at your child’s school, please contact your school office.

Helping kids learn is the driving force behind all we do in the Bethel School District.

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