At the end of July this year we had schools thrust into lockdown with alleged bomb threats and disturbing things happening within those schools – all in the name of protection. You can read about those at this link. Since then we’ve had an ear to the ground as they are a likely sign of things to come. The increasing number of incidents is confirming that.
It’s also evident that schools have been having the required practice drills in preparedness for an emergency of the kinds that occurred in July. Whilst it is good to be prepared, as with any fire drill, nevertheless these weapon or bomb type scenarios have the potential to be very frightening. It is well to discuss them with your children so they are prepared. A parent who contacted us this week after one of those imposed lockdowns in a Taupo high school on the 22nd said their child was shaken by what happened.
The message sent to parents of that school reads as follows:
Kia ora, on Police advice we have been asked to go into lock down as of 9:50am this morning. The incident is not school related and NOT on school site. Your children are safe and indoors currently. Please DO NOT come into school. Police will advise us when we can come out of lockdown and then I will email and text again. Signed by principal.
The parent who contacted us had also noticed other recent lockdowns around NZ. A quick search reveals there indeed have been four since the late July one. That is four in the short space of six weeks. There may be others however the ones our search revealed are as follows below. Notably one had also occurred in Taupiri on June 14th, 2022, so six weeks prior to the late July ones:
New Zealand school plunged into lockdown over ‘serious incident’ in Taupiri
June 14, 2022 A school was placed into lockdown in New Zealand after a gunman opened fire on a man who was reportedly on the morning drop-off.
Lockdown lifted at Auckland college after report of student with knife
Aug 23, 2022 Source: 1News A lock down has been lifted at Auckland’s Glendowie College after a student was reportedly on school grounds with a knife.
Police incident near Palmerston North: Longburn primary school in lockdown
15 Sept 2022 A Palmerston North school went into lock down this afternoon following reports of an incident involving weapons. “Police are responding to a number of reports of disorder in Longburn, Palmerston North, in which weapons are believed to be involved,” a spokesperson said.
Police locate youth with BB gun, schools lift lockdown in Cambridge
NZ Herald 19 Sep, 2022 11:25 AM
Schools and early childhood centres in a Waikato town are now out of lockdown after police located a youth with a gun. A police spokesperson said Cambridge schools had been advised they could lift lockdowns following an earlier incident. “Police have located and are speaking with a youth, who was found to be in possession of a BB gun. “Officers have been stood down from the area.” Cambridge High School had issued a statement saying: “Because of police instructions regarding a local situation, the school has gone into lockdown.” “All students are safe in their classrooms and will remain there until the police give the all clear.”
‘Person of interest’ sighting prompts Taupō schools lockdown
22 Sept 2022 Several Taupō schools went into lockdown on Thursday after police said a “person of interest” was spotted on Spa Rd. The schools in lockdown include Taupo-nui-a-Tia College. In a written statement, police said they received a call shortly before 9.30am on Thursday reporting “a person of interest in Spa Road, Taupō”. “As a precaution a number of schools in the area were advised that police were conducting enquiries in the area – the decision whether to lock down rests with the schools,” a police spokesperson said. “Police made enquiries and were able to ascertain that no threat was posed and no offence had been committed.”
By way of example, below is a copy of notice of a lock down drill in one NZ school, posted by a parent who had expressed concern. In it note, it is possible parents will not be able to contact their children or pick them up, for reasons stated. This, understandably, is what concerns parents. Read NZ’s Department of Education statement about these lockdowns at this link. Today, the parent who made contact with us about the Taupo college incident said one girl had had a seizure during the incident and although the teacher comforted her, it’s alleged they were not allowed to call out by phone for outside help.
This Friday during Tūhono time we will be running a lockdown drill. If you are around the college at this time you will hear repetitive short bells ringing, which is our signal for lockdown. We ask you to head into Te Manawa and follow instructions of staff if you are onsite at the time.
During a drill, classroom doors are secured and the students remain inside the room until instructed by the teacher to resume their activities. All exterior doors are locked and no one is permitted to enter or leave the building. Please note that in the event of a real lockdown situation this procedure will stay in force until police instruct us that it can be lifted.
In the future, should you hear of a lockdown or evacuation at the school, we advise you not to attend the school or phone as we will not be able to respond. Your presence or contact may make it more difficult for us or the emergency services to manage a situation.
Also note that during a lockdown it is likely that police will have access blocked until the situation is resolved. In all lockdowns we are advised by the police as to what actions to take.
Please note – it may not be possible to immediately notify parents of a lockdown in force. Police recommend we do not notify parents to avoid concerned parents arriving in the area making the police job more difficult.
Our emergency contact plan for parents and caregivers:
· Any information pertaining to an emergency occurring at the school will be updated on our Facebook and/or School App as regularly as possible.
· All students who are picked up from the classroom or evacuation points by parents or caregivers must be marked off on the class roll. All parents and caregivers must report to the office when picking up their children.
· Students are not to contact parents by cell phone or personal IT device unless given permission by their teacher.
· Parents will be contacted as soon as the lockdown is over.
Please contact me if you have any questions about our lockdown procedures.
Thank you for taking the time to read about our procedures.
Ngā mihi nui
This is not intended to scaremonger, however we are drawing your attention again to the Ministry of Education’s statement of rights in terms of your children that you may not be aware of. Perhaps read them again and contact your school to clarify possible scenarios before they happen, particularly with regard to your child’s and your own parental rights.
Note also, previous incidents in NZ reveal that our Police appear to be untrained in managing these frightening scenarios where children are involved. Read related below. It makes reference to the children in the Tuhoe raids in 2007 where children were seriously frightened by Police.
Little if any regard is given it seems to the fear they are inciting, leaving children traumatized and in need of counseling. Something to consider going forwards with this.