During block eight on Thursday, November 5th, the school experienced a new type of lockdown drill. It began like previous lockdown drills with an announcement over the loudspeaker. However, instead of dismissal via loudspeaker, a member of the crisis management team and a local emergency responder visited each classroom to ensure that everyone followed procedures and the lockdown could finish. This dismissal procedure is the main difference between the old and new lockdown drill plans. Mr. Schutz, head of the crisis management team, explained that this served to simulate a real lockdown, which would require individual permission to classrooms for dismissal rather than a sweeping announcement.
Similarly, this new protocol gives teachers options to keep their students safe. These options, described by crisis management team member Peter Niemeyer as “decisions within a structured tier,” include a typical lockdown situation with locked doors, closed shades, and a huddled mass of students, but, when necessary, teachers can choose the options of evacuation and targeted aggressive response. In the words of Schutz, this new subjectivity in the protocol makes “our procedures match expectations,” and, according to Niemeyer “empowers the people being locked down…to make the decisions that are best for the safety of the students.” The crisis management team received training from the state police to learn how to implement this new set of customs.
Schutz reports that the first lockdown drill went smoothly and that people universally acted in a serious manner. Much like fire drills and evacuation drills, the student body showed organization and calm during the drill. Mt. Greylock will have two more unannounced lockdown drills over the coming year.