Duck and cover: Liberty’s new lockdown system

Lucas Maier, Staff Writer

At Lincoln High School, Missouri, you can hear the sound of gunshots, screams, and feet running down the halls. But thankfully, this isn’t an emergency, but a simulation set up by faculty. As a recent string of school shootings have rocked our nation and community, schools are realizing that it is necessary to do more to protect their students from such horrific threats.

Recently, students at Liberty received updated guidelines on how to respond to such threats, and watched a video made by the administration that detailed how to react in the event of a violent threat. This is, though more comprehensive than what students have previously been taught, less extreme than what other schools have put into place, with some schools going so far as to use live weapons shooting blanks to simulate shootings. Some have decried such simulations as being “too intense” for children and, in comparison, Liberty has adopted a much more measured response.

“I think that, as staff here at Liberty High School, we have to walk that fine line with how to best prepare people without needlessly putting them in a state of stress and fear. Some schools have decided to do it, but Montalvo and I think we can still do drills and teach students what to do without going that far,” principal Josh Almy said.

Many incidents involving attacks on students occur during a school’s passing period or lunch.
“When preparing, a lot of people just want a cut-and-dry plan, but when you’re dealing with these situations, you really have to think on your feet. We really wanted to go over what to do when students aren’t in class,” Almy continued.

The district concluded this through meeting periodically with law enforcement. Getting ready for the school year, teachers and principals wanted to better prepare students in the case of an emergency.

“Since we introduced the ‘Run, Hide, Fight’ concept, things have gone well. We still talk about it, and it could be a possibility, but our goal right now is to get the basic lockdown drill down and really ingrain that,” Assistant Principal Sean Martin said.

Over the summer, Martin worked with law enforcement and homeland security to implement the best possible additions to the standard drill. According to Martin, the “Run, Hide, Fight” program was picked because it allows students to act in a more flexible manner in response to threats.

“There are a lot of things we’re always trying to improve on in order to make others safer, but for now we’re trying to establish a foundation.” The new drill has been practiced twice, and Martin said that the staff plans on going over instruction each year to ensure students are prepared.