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Lockdowns – from a student’s point of view

File photo.

At the start of April, the Ministry of Education opened a review looking at lockdowns after Christchurch was put into a city wide lockdown following the terror attacks.

“Children’s safety and wellbeing are paramount and it is very important our schools are able to protect their children,” says deputy secretary sector enablement and support for the Ministry of Education Katrina Casey.

“When police imposed a city wide lockdown in Christchurch, our schools, kura and early learning centres did the best job they could of keeping their children safe, in very challenging circumstances.

“Because this lockdown was for a significant period of time, covered a large area of a major city, affected a very large number of families and occurred at a time of uncertainty about the nature of the events that were unfolding, it is even more important than usual that we undertake a review of all aspects of the lockdown.

“We will be doing that review in conjunction with police and the three Principal’s Associations and will be seeking views from parents as well.”

Although from Tauranga, Christchurch is a two hour flight away and a 14 and a half hour drive away, it doesn’t mean that what happened in Christchurch hasn’t affected people in Tauranga.

Some local high school students says while they know the basics of what to do if their school was to go into a lockdown, they say it is something that isn’t talked about enough.

A Bethlehem College students says she has taken part of in a school lockdown before but only as a practice.

“We were told to take it seriously but as we were only 10 or 11 years old we didn’t. We felt safe but only because we knew it was a practice,” says Myah Boston.

She says if her school was to go into a lockdown, she would know what to do but she thinks all the new students who have come from other schools wouldn’t know what to do.

Myah also says that she wouldn’t be able to contact her parents as the teachers take their phones off them.

“We wouldn’t be able to contact them, so the parents wouldn’t know what to do.”

Another student who goes to Kaipara College in West Auckland says he has been in a couple of lockdown drills in primary school and at high school but he says that he doesn’t feel safe at high school.

“During the practice I didn’t feel safe because the classrooms are square and one entire side of that is glass,” says Jeremy.

“We have been taught the basics like turn the lights off, stay quiet, stay away from the windows, and stay hidden, I think all of that is relativity understood but nothing has been said if we were out playing on the field and the school went into a lockdown.

“I’m pretty sure it’s just go to the closest classroom but I’m not entirely sure.”

Jeremy says he’s unsure on parents rushing to schools to pick their children up.

“Because it’s an unpredictable situation and people make spontaneous decisions.”

Although Myah’s school takes their phones away, Jeremy says they are still allowed them at his but going on them is something he wouldn’t try.

“It’s very hard to do because if you would want to try to stay quiet and appear as if there is no-one in the classroom because you have no idea what is actually going on.

“But presuming there is someone outside walking around with a gun asking for blood, if they hear a noise in the class of some kid trying to talk to their parent they go ‘oh your turn to die.’

Jeremy says lockdowns as a whole are becoming more common but a lockdown is the best solution to the problem with the lack of information and time given.

“Because there is more spontaneous extremists’ things going on and unfortunately in New Zealand as well, so they are becoming more common,” says Jeremy.

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