Friday, 16 September 2016

Hampstead's Lockdown Alarm: Not For Emergency Use

This week, Hampstead school performed its first lockdown drill, in preparation for the culmination of an unspecified threat. While a plan is better than no plan, within minutes of the drill's termination, pupils across the school could be heard formulating their own plans, few of them compliant with the Camden school authorities'.

This is not surprising. Perhaps due to a latent mistrust of authority, teenagers and young adults would naturally like to be given a role in their own lives. What is surprising, however, is that by some accounts, pupils and teachers at Hampstead school seem to have better ideas for their own protection than management and council staff.

One key facet of the procedures detailed in a short word document was staying as far away as possible from windows. Perhaps a fair principle at the time of its conception, it is simply unsuitable for Hampstead School, particularly when the many windows of the 'New Block' are taken into account. (The 'New Block' referenced here is, in fact, a very old one, soon destined for destruction). The year rooms (four of which are in the 'New Block') have windowed walls, and windowed doors, rendering this particular item of safety advice largely useless.

In addition to this major lack of foresight or even a capacity to understand how ideas must actually be implemented in the real world, the lockdown alarm and notice are deeply faulted as well. For the sake of security, we will not reveal the flawed alarm system that was in place during the drill, despite it being common knowledge amongst Hampstead students now, however, due to a number of possible extenuating circumstances (such as accidental or deliberate network failure to name just one), the current "LOCKDOWN ALARM" system has so many opportunities for localized and schoolwide failure that it can not truly be considered a valid means of ensuring student safety.

Due to the bolt-on implementation of these procedures, it remains unclear who can activate the lockdown alarm. As far as our investigations have uncovered, there are no plans to make activation of this alarm available to students or non-administrative staff.

DISCLAIMER: The safety protocols to protect against a terrorist threat detailed in this article are common practice for not just schools, but businesses as well, and so are already common knowledge; the detailing of which pose no threat to the school's safety beyond the threat to safety they pose in their implementation, as shown in the article. If you have any concerns about anything mentioned in the article, please do not hesitate to contact the school.

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