HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — This isn’t your parent’s classroom anymore. The old days of duck and cover, a drill for bomb scares, are long gone. Now replaced with lockdown; be quiet and hide.
Dr. Laura Saunders child psychologist for the Institute of living says if your kid is locked down, and they see officers with guns and K9-units, it’s important to let your child vent their feelings once it’s over.
“Talk about how it made them feel it gives them a sense that this is OK. The way you decrease anxiety is by allowing them to express those feelings,” said Saunders.
Liam is in the eight grade in West Hartford and has been practicing lockdown drills for as long as he can remember, until he says it wasn’t a drill anymore. A gunman running from police was in the neighborhood.
“So we all had to sit down right next to the door and be very quiet so nobody would think there was anybody in the room,” he said.
So, as classrooms have changed over the years; the SmartBoard replacing the chalkboard, and computers replacing notebooks, so have the fire drills. The days of exiting the building single file have been replaced with lowering the shades, staying below the windows, and finding a meeting place inside the school.
Dr. Saunders says to remember, there are a wide range of fears, from physical harm to being released home early to an empty house. Dr. Saunders recommends to parents, ask questions and then listen. And don’t pile on your own feelings.
“Parents have a much more active imagination than kids do and they’re more aware of what’s going on, so often times, parents have to be very careful not to put their anxiety onto their children,” said Saunders.