Some upset over unannounced AISD lockdown drill

Some upset over unannounced AISD lockdown drill

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Last Thursday morning, parents of kids at Clint Small Middle School got an e-mail saying there would be a lockdown drill that morning.

Shortly after, the drill began...and apparently most of the staff and students didn't know if it was practice or the real deal.

According to AISD, over the PA system, everyone heard this: "Emergency conditions exist. This is a lockdown. Teachers report directly to the nearest classroom and initiate lockdown procedures. Ignore any fire alarms. Students report to the nearest classroom where a teacher or staff member is present."

Jessica Graffunder has three kids -- two of them go to Small Middle School.

She says the drill traumatized her 11-year-old.

"It just sat with me wrong that it all seemed so real to my children and from their descriptions of the teacher's behavior, it was so real to the teachers as well," Graffunder said.

We spoke with AISD Superintendent Dr. Meria Carstarphen and asked her what she would say to parents, students and teachers who were frightened by the drill.

"Our teachers and our staff know that we do these across the system. But fair enough it's something that we expect the principal to talk more extensively with that community about so they get better educated on what we do, why we do it and when we might do it and you can't always, based on the way these things work, tell when you're going to do the practice drill," Carstarphen said.

Some parents agree that the drill was important and didn't seem to affect their kids in a negative way.

"I'm glad they did it. Cause I mean heaven forbid if something bad happens, at least maybe they can call back on something that they learned," one parent said.

"Well it's kind of like a fire or a tornado, I mean, you can't ever expect anything like that to happen so I think the more prepared you are the better off the kids and the students are," one parent said.

Others, like Vita Wilson -- feel the same way as Graffunder -- the lockdown scared her sixth grade son.

"I think they should have let the kids know that it was a drill," Wilson said.

Graffunder says her daughter was one of the students that hid in the library. She was one of the last ones in so she had to sit in an aisle instead of behind a bookcase.

"One of the librarians said to my daughter 'You need to move. If a bullet comes through that window, you will get shot,'" she said.

She realizes the importance of having drills. But she asks...to what extent?

"To have children frightened when it's not real...it doesn't sit right with me. And I don't like to complain when I don't have the answer, because I don't. But I have a daughter who is right by my side now since Thursday which is not her typical behavior," Graffunder said.

We also spoke with the Texas School Safety Center by phone today. They said they really encourage schools to at least announce "This is only a drill" -- and keep repeating that throughout the drill.

According to the PA message AISD sent us, they didn't do that.

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