FMHS keeps lock-down drills on schedule


FORT MADISON – In the wake of the recent school shootings that have taken the lives of many students, local officials continue to drill lock-down procedures at Fort Madison schools. On Thursday, Fort Madison High School conducted its third lock down of the year.

An email was sent out on March 1st to the parents in the Fort Madison Community School District stating in the coming weeks they will be performing lock down drills in each of their buildings. So far this year the drills have gone well, but they are constantly looking to improve the process. The district protocol is four drills per year per building. The drills are a way to be sure the students and staff are aware of what to do during an actual lock down.

Members of the district’s threat assessment team and the administrative council are always talking in meetings about how they can change things up and make things more efficient. Right now they have been practicing lock down.

“It’s tricky, because if we start testing our systems, especially in light of what has happened recently, and we kind of go away from normal, then it could create panic,” says Patrick Lamb, assistant principal at Fort Madison High School.

During the lock down drills the students and staff are quick and silent. When the alarm is made, teachers and staff move quickly to shut and lock all doors, block the windows and secure the students. During this latest lock down Lamb would rate it a 10. Everything went smooth, every door was locked, and no sounds were heard in any hall. The more drills are done, the better the students and staff can execute procedures.

Lamb has said sometimes they would send a police officer dressed in plain clothes through the school and test to see how quickly the students and staff will turn them in. Each time the officer is usually turned in fairly quickly.

The U.S. House of Representatives is currently consider the STOP School Violence Act of 2018, which would create a $50 million pool of federal funding that school districts could apply for to help increase the safety and security of the nation’s schools, including funding threat assessments teams, create anonymous support systems and fund training and technical assistance. The bill is scheduled for vote in the House this coming week.

The bill does not provide any language pertaining to handguns. The U.S. Senate is also considering a similar measure.

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