To feel shaken up?(22 Posts)
I work as an assistant in a kindergarten class. This afternoon we had an assembly for all the 200 kindergarten & primary children in my language section (not in uk).
Towards the end of the assembly the intrusion alarm went off, signalling that there was an intruder in the school & we went into an immediate lockdown situation.
None of the staff knew anything about it - so we presumed it was real & followed procedure, locking windows & doors, closing blinds & moving boards in front of windows etc. We started getting the kids on the floor to go under their chairs - the older ones were obviously distressed and a couple of them started crying. It was very frightening, I was sat there listening out for gunshots & wondering who was going to be left alive.
It turned out that the alarm had gone off in the area we were in by mistake, but we only found this out after a good 8-10 minutes. The head didn't know it had happened, and none of us can understand what went wrong.
We calmly got our little ones out & they were all fine - too small to know what it all meant thank goodness. I felt so shaken up though and still do.
One positive to come out of it though, is finding out how you personally react to this kind of situation. I shocked myself as I thought I would have dealt with it better...
Yanbu to feel shaken, I think anyone would! Poor scared kids!
But look at how well you all handled it, that's something to be proud of.
It is awful having to do something like this when you also have to be the 'adult' in charge. I hate it when we have drills at my school and often feel shaken up; it's completely normal. Sounds like you handled it as well as you possibly could; in a classroom situation you're so limited as to what you can do to protect and safeguard those lives you're entrusted with.
Do you live in a high crime area? That's really scary. We have nothing like that whatsoever in our little country primary school. Listening out for gunshots? Jesus.
Are you in the US? Never heard of this sort of procedure in a UK school.
The OP says she/he isn't in the U.K.!
Right there in the second sentence... 😏
We had an intruder drill at my preschool recently. All the doors were locked by the senior staff and the children were gathered as a group in the quiet area where most of them were hidden from the windows. The guidance states that if possible we should close blinds (we don't have them, though we should) and push furniture in front of the doors that lead to the main school and outside.
I was so very proud of the children. It was the first time such a horrible thing had ever been put into practice and they dealt with it so well. All of them sat in silence for a solid 10 minutes until we got the all-clear. One boy cried. I was his key worker, and I held him and comforted him as he needed. The rest of them afterwards appeared proud of their accomplishment and understood the explanation given to them when the all clear came - these are kids aged 3 and 4.
It's horrific to do, but they deal with it far better than you might expect. I was so surprised that only one child, the one I comforted, struggled. They do understand.
Gosh OP poor you. My kids have to do this drill periodically and it saddens me to think it is necessary. I'm sorry you had to carry it out under those circumstances. Must have been really frightening.
It sounds like you did a great job. I can't imagine how horrible it must be. Yes the kids you work with day in and day out were with you, but other kids were, I presume, not in the hall, as were other members of staff. And after all you didn't know if someone was going to start shooting through doors or windows. Truly horrible.
If you stayed with the kids, didn't start shrieking or crying then I think you did a bloody amazing job!
Never heard of this sort of procedure in a UK school.
We have this in my son's school, I hate they have to do it, but I can see why.
op, I wish I could say more.
OP, can I just ask if you have been trained for this in any way? Certainly a scary situation to have to face.
There has been obligatory training which all my colleagues have done, but I was having a miscarriage on that particular day so wasn't able to go. It was training for AMOK though, where a student runs amok and starts shooting, and one of my colleagues said she wasn't really able to apply much of the training to the situation yesterday.
I still feel upset this morning!
Please don't beat yourself up. It sounds like you kept the children safe in what could have been a potentially threatening situation. Thankyou for that.
How scary. No wonder you are shook up. Talk about your feelings and that will help.
Thanks everyone... Eatingonlyapples how did you keep the children quiet for 10 mins? Keeping 200 children quiet was impossible, especially with the older ones who kept whispering about the alert - it's worded "intrusion, intrusion" so they immediately knew what was going on. The head of the section was amazing & got them playing a whispering game - she would say something & they had to whisper it back.
I do wonder how our 29 would do if we had to keep them absolutely silent.
I am frustrated with myself that I fell apart inside. It's one thing keeping a calm exterior for the kids, but I honestly thought I would have coped better. People around the world are faced with real, actually terrifying situations, rather than just the perceived threat of one. I am cross with myself that I have been so upset by this, and really thought I would get some YABU's!
For whoever it was that asked - I work in Brussels, in a school with diplomats children.
my children had to do these drills all through their school days (not in the UK). When they came back to UK and there was a fire drill at Uni they got under their desks while the others started to walk outside . . .
OP I know you won't have much control over it but just in case you can make suggestions: in our school the alert is in coded language. Everyone knows what it means and knows the drill but it avoids using terms that stress people out. I won't say what it is but it's along the lines of: Mr Bump is in reception.
Could you suggest something like that which delivers an effective message without adding to the stress by using the term intrusion?
Chintari people who live with real threats all the time become inured to them, but it doesn't mean they didn't fall apart the first time, or dozen times, or more. And becoming inured is not a good thing, it's useful for getting through the threats, but it's not some great character trait they happen to have. It's a human reaction to too much stress too often. Don't be disappointed with yourself for being human. It can cause problems later in life when the threats have abated.
Keeping a calm exterior is essential for keeping your charges safe, and you did that. You should be really proud of yourself. Don't be hard on yourself just because it turns out you weren't at risk. Your perception was that you and your charges were, whether the threat was real or not isn't really relevant, you had to treat it as real and your body reacted that way. Adrenalin is a very powerful hormone.
If thinking about this is eating you up, causing sleepless nights or otherwise making it hard to get through your day, see if you have access to trauma counselling through school, your union, health insurance etc. You would probably only need to talk to someone a couple of times. You could also suggest more training if you think it might help. Suggestions on how to keep 200 children quiet for instance. Knowledge about what is happening outside, hoe the school and authorities respond while you are sheltering in place might help you feel better about it and practice helps with training your body to react the way you need it to if you ever do need to do it again in a non-practice way.
My children's school had a lockdown recently when an intruder broke into the school - he was aprehended very quickly.
My 5yo came home and cheerfully told us that they'd turned out the lights and laid on the floor, hiding out of sight of the windows from a "bad man".
I found that bloody depressing. If I'd been there I'm sure I would've felt shaken too. Hope you have a peaceful night OP.
Grim isn't it. I had a melt down when my DD2 was relaying their intruder drill to me when she was just 8, what had kind of place had we brought them to where intruder drills were more commonplace than fire drills. its a sad world. Like a previous poster when she had a fire drill at Uni, she started barricading her door!
Of course you're shaken up - very understandable and the next drill you'll be much better at it.
for you and all the great teachers keeping their heads and making sure our children are safe.
My children have 'lockdown' training in secondary school in the UK. Funnily enough the youngest has it this week. They have had it for the past 2 - 3 years and as you can see do know about it. As my DS is the class clown, don't know how they get him to be quiet. I try to get him to take it seriously, and it has made for some lively conversations. Certainly made us think.
Also when DS1 was at Infant school (in leafy Suburbs) we had a man with a gun running through the fields adjacent to the school, smack bang in the middle of pick up time. There were armed police everywhere. They escorted me with DS2 in a buggy at speed to the school ( school in a pretty open area). We then all huddled on the floor, in a windowless corridor, we could at least read books as we knew he was outside the building.
The police did there job, no shots fired, man arrested. We all got up off the floor, school cook made a cup of tea (typically British all fixed with tea) and off we went home.
Did feel a bit on edge for a day or two. Not sure even now DH believes I haven't over dramatised it, he thinks it's a good dinner table story.
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