As we celebrate teacher appreciation week and honor educators that work tirelessly for the betterment of our youth, I reminisce of my time as one of those dedicated professionals. For over a decade of my teaching career I was a first-grade teacher. My job was to educate. My job was to inspire. My job was to lead. My job was to coach. And in the event of a lock down drill or emergency, suddenly my job was to protect.

During my tenure as a teacher, I participated in lock down drills each year. We were, of course, always aware of the drill beforehand which meant we had time to GET prepared.

GETTING prepared for a lock down drill meant finding my classroom door key and locking the door, a door that otherwise always remained unlocked.

GETTING prepared for a lock down drill meant pulling down the shades to cover my wall full of exterior windows a half hour before the event. And while doing it having to delicately answer my six- and seven-year-old students’ question, “Mrs. Hardecopf, why are you pulling down the shades?”

GETTING prepared for a lock down drill meant scoping out the best possible hiding place to huddle my class so we were out of sight.

GETTING prepared for a lock down drill meant gathering my students on the carpet beforehand to discuss what happens during a lock down drill and why we were doing it.

Even after spending all this time getting prepared for our lock down drills, I still felt extremely vulnerable. As my first graders and I sat in silence huddled up on the carpet in the corner, so many thoughts would run through my head. Is the door locked? Did I lock it correctly? Why aren’t the windows on and next to my classroom door covered? Can anyone see us? And most importantly I wondered, could I really do all the items on my “getting prepared” list in the event of an actual lock down emergency?

Getting prepared is one thing, BEING prepared is another.  When a lock down emergency occurs, there’s absolutely no opportunity to get prepared, teachers need to already BE prepared. Teachers need to have safe guards in place and to be able to act in an instant to protect their students.

One way to BE prepared is by having blackout safety shades mounted and ready to deploy in seconds. The Hideaway Helper safety shade is a cost-conscious, fast, and effective option for providing the extra security needed during a lock down situation. Education professionals are no longer forced to leave their windows uncovered or to come up with their own way to blackout a classroom window such as taping up construction paper. School Safety Solution has the solution that all schools are looking for.

It only takes one teacher, one administrator, one parent to notice how vital it is to BE prepared for the unthinkable. It’s time for us all to BE that educator who steps up to protect our future.

Melissa Hardecopf

Owner, School Safety Solution, LLC