The Sad Reality of Lockdown Practices



The email subject from my daughter’s principal read Lockdown Drill PRACTICE. I saw the capitalized letters, but my heart had already dropped at the first word. Lockdown. My little kindergartener had practiced a lockdown. The tears were already forming in my eyes.

My daughter was safe. But I wasn’t there to keep her safe. My daughter has cried when our smoke alarm goes off. She has jumped when a public toilet or hand dryer is too loud. What had she done as her teachers ushered her into a bathroom and turned out the lights, telling her to stay silent? Was she trying to hold back her own tears as she followed the rules? Was she blissfully obedient, huddling with her new friends, seeing it as just another safety routine?

What had the teachers told her? What language had they used? Just how much did they explain about why this practice, very different from the outdoor fire drills, was even necessary?

My mind went back to Sandy Hook. My maternity leave had just ended a few days before. My daughter, then 4 months old, was safe with daycare providers. I remember crying. I remember the silence that filled the car when I picked my husband up from the train. He climbed into the back seat and just draped his body over our safe, innocently unaware daughter.

Becoming a parent changes everything. In high school, my best friend joked that I lived in Mariaville: Population 1. I was more than idealistic. I was ridiculously unrealistic. I dreamed of a world filled with peace, absent of weapons and wars. And if that couldn’t happen, I would move to the mountains to live amidst the rainbows and unicorns.

I cry because my head is no longer in the clouds. I understand why lockdown drills are necessary. We are simply protecting our children with reality. We can stagger what we reveal to our children about our unsafe world, but we must equip them with safety procedures. I cry because I trust whatever the school staff tells my daughter. I cry because I know the school will do whatever it must to keep my daughter safe.

My daughter is safe. She told me about how she held hands with a friend and a teacher, because she felt scared during the lockdown drill. And yet she recounted the details with no sadness or fear. It was another matter-of-fact story about her day. I’m sad that’s the reality, but she is safe, and that’s worth a good cry.

How do you and your children react to lockdown practices? 

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Maria F. is a high school English teacher who naturally finds herself reflecting upon the beautiful struggles that accompany the routine and randomness of each day as a working mommy. She relies upon humor and some sort of chocolate or frozen treat as survival tactics. She and her husband live in East Norwalk with their three kids, Abbie (born 2012), Charlie (born 2014), and Phoebe (born 2018). You can find Maria F. driving in her beloved dream car, a minivan, listening to audiobooks during her commute or singing along to Kidz Bop as she shuttles her little humans around town.


  1. I cried that good cry with you! As a teacher I will tell you lockdown drills are horrible to go through. As a mom, I hate that they have to practice too.. yet I have the conversation with my kids about what they are doing and why. This gives me insight as to what they are being told in school and what they know. Thanks for sharing your experience

  2. Thank you so much! I’m a teacher, too, but of high school students, so I don’t have to choose my words as carefully, but they’re kind of jaded about the drills, so that’s a different kind of sad reality. So so hard all around.


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