June 25, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

A Different Perspective on Lockdowns

I read the letter that was published last week (“It’s Time for a Change,” March 29, 2018) by a fellow high school student. I sympathized with the story she told; I went through the exact same event at the exact same time, and it looked pretty much like what was described in that letter. But I do not recognize, and cannot sympathize with, the sentiments expressed afterward.

When I found out that the text had been sent in error by a panicked teacher, I sympathized with them. When I found out that it was part of another school’s lockdown drill, I didn’t rage at the world at large; I fumed instead at the ridiculous lockdown procedures that enabled this mishap to occur.

In California, students regularly drill for lockdowns and fires. But they also drill for earthquakes—not because the people in California’s government like earthquakes, but because they are a fact of life. An unlikely fact of life, but a deadly and horrifying fact of life for which they need to prepare.

The letter writer asks, “What have we come to that we have to scare children in order to keep them safe? What have we come to that we need lockdown drills every week? Why are we living in a world where we are afraid to go to school?
Afraid that every time we say goodbye to someone it will be the last time we spoke?”

I truly sympathize with these thoughts. They are the thoughts most people, and especially us high school students, feel when we hear about tragedies. But the reason we have to scare children in order to keep them safe is because we live in an imperfect world, a world where human evil is a real and frightening possibility.

There are things we can do to prevent this situation from occurring again. We could, for instance, ensure that teachers are properly informed of lockdown drills before they occur so that nobody panics and sounds the alarm to every other school in the area. For 10 years I’ve been preparing in school for fires and active shooter situations, yet neither I nor any of my fellow students, from kindergarten to ninth grade, have ever been scared—because we knew the threat wasn’t real. In fact, these drills make us feel safer, protecting us by teaching us how to survive unlikely and dangerous situations.

I, too, went through the same situation as most of my fellow students in the area. But instead of coming out of those 10 minutes angry at the world and anxious for gun control, I thanked God that our schools are safe and secure, that there wasn’t an active shooter in any Jewish school that day, and that had there been one, those lockdown drills would have taught us what to do.

Tzvi Ginzberg

Ninth grader at Heichal Hatorah

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