Two Local Natives Who Lived Through Sandy Hook + Marjory Stoneman Comment on Lockdown Drills
Last week I asked parents the question, "Are you for or against 'active shooter'/lockdown drills at your child's school?"
Most of the parents that answered my question believed that the lockdown drills were a good idea. One mom thought that calling them 'active shooter drills' instead of lockdown drills was not necessary because it heightened the children's anxiety level.
I decided to ask two friends of mine who were actually in their respective school buildings during the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary and Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. I was fortunate enough to be friends with these two courageous women because we all worked together right here at the station and WINE back in the '80s.
Yvonne was the Library Media Specialist at Sandy Hook on December 14, 2012, and Diana held the same position and still does at Marjory Stoneman on February 14, 2018, and their friendship has remained steadfast throughout the years. Here they are at the Washington D.C March for Life in 2018. Left to right are Diana, Jimmy Fallon, and Yvonne.
At 9:30 a.m. on Dec. 14, 2012, Yvonne had a group of children in the library when the shooter barged into Sandy Hook Elementary. She and her teacher's aide calmly gathered the children and swiftly moved them into a utility closet and locked the door as they were trained to do. Yvonne's class was the last class out after the all-clear was sounded. When I asked her about her thoughts regarding lockdown drills, this is what she told me:
In my specific experience, drills were helpful and here's why. In the moment I needed to act to protect my students and staff I was able to recall 'practiced strategies and plans' which allowed me to think and not panic. Seconds count in an active shooter situation. Those precious seconds that were used to implement the plan could have been taken up with panic and not knowing what to do and could have cost lives. As it turned out, our plan had to be altered drastically due to our circumstances, but, I had the clarity of mind to be able to think it through since we were able to spring right into action.
Diana also agreed that lockdown drills were beneficial in training the students and teachers. But Diana had the added advantage when she told me:
Yvonne told me about everything that happened and what she did on that horrible day in Sandy Hook. I was much better prepared because we had spoken about it many times before.