Lockdown drills should be taken more seriously

Kayla Ebner, Managing Editor

This past Tuesday on April 24, RWU had a lockdown drill. I was walking to The Hawks’ Herald office when this happened, and I had almost reached the side door to the Rec Center when the siren went off. I got to the building as fast as I could, and even found myself adding a little pep to my step to hustle and get inside quickly. When I got in the building, I ducked into the Student Programs and Leadership office, where we quickly discovered that the overhead speaker which was supposed to be playing the pre-recorded drill message was fading in and out.

I’m currently in the Digital Journalism II class where we are producing a multimedia magazine about guns. We’ve covered both sides of the argument—pro-gun and anti-gun, so I’ve been doing quite a bit of research on this topic.

A big part of the gun violence issue has become preparing for these kinds of active shooter situations. Years and years ago, kids in schools went through “duck and cover” drills to prepare for a possible nuclear blast, and now, it’s become lockdown drills to practice what to do if a shooter were to enter the school. It’s unfortunate that we even have to take these precautions, but because of the people who use weapons like AR-15s to carry out mass shootings, it’s something that has become somewhat normal for our society. It’s just the world we live in today.

Personally, I think the traditional “lock yourself in a room and hide” method makes no sense. If I hear there is a shooter in a certain area on campus I’m not going to crouch in a corner and wait to be shot, I’m going to get as far away from that area as possible. Obviously, there are certain situations in which it would make sense to lock the door and stay put, like if the shooter was in the same hallway, but for the most part, I think lockdown drills need to be changed.

I also think drills and trainings should be more strictly enforced. In an email the university sent out on April 17, a link to a hostile intruder video was provided. After watching the quick seven minute video, I honestly felt like I would have a better idea of what to do in an active shooter situation. The video puts us in the first-person perspective of a student in an active shooter situation, and I found myself getting chills at some parts because the video had an eerie, realistic feeling to it. I think this video should be required for students to watch, much like the Alcohol EDU program all freshmen must go through.


In 2016, a report from the Government Accountability Office found that 40 states require individual schools to perform exercises or drills to test their emergency plans. This includes Florida, where the most recent mass shooting at a school occurred. This brings up the question, if these things are still happening despite what we do to prepare for them, is it even worth trying?


I couldn’t believe it when I got back to my room the day of the lockdown drill a few hours later and my roommates told me that their professors continued teaching the class despite the drill going on. With all the mass shootings happening in the country, you’d think people would take these things more seriously, but apparently not. During lockdown drills at certain schools, they will actually have a police officer go through the school and fire blanks into the air to give the drill a more realistic feeling. 

One of my roommates mentioned that her desk is right by the door of one of her classrooms, which the professor left wide open, and said “If this was a real lockdown I would have died.” I understand it was obvious that it was just a drill, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t go through the motions and do what we’re supposed to.