“We did lockdown today.”
Most parents will never be fully comfortable with those words. Our own schooldays weren’t punctuated by drills on how to survive a mass shooting or a terror attack. Most of us weren’t taught how to stay away from windows, shelter under desks and not make a sound whenever a particular song or sound is played over the school PA system.
But for our kids – for well over a decade now in NSW schools – these kind of practices have become entirely normal, like a fire drill with a few extra steps.
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My daughter had one last week. She was pretty excited about it. She and her classmates were out “doing sport” at the time and all the kids had to run to the nearest classroom and lie still while doors and windows were secured and until teachers – meticulously trained to stay calm and positive throughout – gave them the nod to resume wrestling and trading Shopkins.
If my daughter and her friends are happy to have the routines of primary school interrupted by “lockdown”, I shudder every time I hear the word. Because I know why these seven-year-olds are told to make themselves small and silent – to prevent them from being ‘easy targets’ of all the worst bogeymen of our news feeds and imaginations – while to her, aged seven and privileged to live in largely peaceful, sane Australia, the why of it is vaguely hazy.