When I watched the video animation of the Parkland shooting months ago, I could not understand why students were “hiding” in the line of fire – directly in front of the classroom doors. While it’s possible that for some of the classrooms there was no time for students to move to a safer location within the room, the Florida commission investigating the shooting has identified a problem with the lockdown planning.
Security experts on two separate occasions in the past two years advised teachers and administrators to mark safe areas called “hard corners” in each classroom, said Pinellas County Sheriff’s Detective Walter Bonasoro, serving as an investigator for the commission.
But just two teachers in Building 12, where the shooting took place, marked off hard corners, using tape, and these had too much furniture and other materials for all students to be able to crowd into them during the shooting.
Unfortunately, some classrooms are designed with so much glass that it is almost impossible to create a hard corner without relying on furniture, but in many classrooms it would cost little or no money to indicate an area where kids should go during a lockdown drill or an actual incident. Of course, the classroom door must be locked in order for hard corners to be effective.
Are these safe areas identified in the schools that you work with or visit?
On a related note, I just read this article on Mother Jones: Here’s What Lockdown Drills are Like for Schoolchildren. Below is the video that accompanies the article. We need to continue to consider the impact of security measures on students. I’m not in any way suggesting that physical security should be abandoned, but the way the message is delivered is important.