Every few months, the children in Kelly Myers’ preschool class in Roanoke, Va., go to a corner of their classroom and hide.
Myers puts a barricade under the door knob to jam it closed and turns off the lights. Then, the children, who are 2 ½ to 3 ½ years old, sit quietly in the dark until the all-clear. Often, students start to cry.
Lockdown drills such as these are ubiquitous in schools these days, but they take on new significance in the wake of a horrific school shooting such as the one in Parkland, Fla., in which a gunman killed 17 people and wounded 15 others at a high school.
For many teachers, the realization sets in during these drills that “if the door opens, they’re coming for me and my kids,” Myers said. “My responsibility is the kids and to keep them safe, and if I don’t get that door closed tight enough, they’re coming for me.”
And as the number of school shootings ticks up year after year, teachers say the lockdown drills never lose their impact. While some teachers say they’re glad that their schools prepare for the worst-case scenario, many also say the drills have become increasingly surreal and unnerving.