Lockdowns needed for safety

In recent months, Grayslake North has seen a large number of lockdowns. Lockdowns occur when there is a threat to the school. Although soft lockdowns are more common than hard lockdowns, one can easily transition to the other.
“It is a quick decision to decide what type of lockdown. If there is a threat inside, the building, we will normally go into a hard lockdown. We have a checklist of how we notify parents and families. Every situation is going to be different,” said associate principal of student services Megan Licht.
Lockdowns can happen for many reasons, whether it’s an inside or outside threat.
“About three years ago we had to go into a soft lockdown because there was a man robbing houses in the subdivision across the street, and we heard from the police that he may have been armed,” Licht said.
With the heavy nature of lockdowns, they can be hard for everyone. Students are not the only ones in danger, especially since some staff members may be in a position where they can’t hear the announcement.
“Lockdowns put everyone on edge, but I think one benefit is that everyone is aware that we are here to create a safe environment,” Licht said.
The primary goal of lockdowns is the safety of the staff and students. One type of lockdown was instituted to search for illicit substances.
“This year we did a lockdown to search for drugs, the first we’ve done in ten years. We heard that some students may have been using some illegal substances in our building. We did use search dogs during the lockdown,” said school resource officer Amy Guzman.
Search dogs can also be used to search for bombs or other devices. Bomb threats are in a gray area of lockdowns, although a school may be forced to evacuate, they don’t necessarily have to.
“If there is a bomb threat in the building, we may have to evacuate. This recent soft lockdown was from a bomb threat, but we didn’t evacuate because it wasn’t credible,” Licht said.
The school is constantly thinking of ways to make the lockdown process safer and more efficient for students. Along with trying to establish a safety light, administrators started to use an app to notify teachers of the situation.
“We have a new feature for administrators called Navigate Prepare. It allows all staff members to be notified on their phones and be informed on what type of situation it is,” Licht said.