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Students left confused after South Point High lockdown drill held during class change

Some parents think sending notifications about the drills could help calm some chaos.

BELMONT, N.C. — It’s standard practice at all schools, and even more important now than in years past -- lockdown drills are meant to prepare students and teachers for the worst-case scenario, a school shooting. 

A drill was held at South Point High School this week, and some students panicked thinking it was real. It started a big conversation amongst parents and on Facebook about whether they should be notified when a lockdown drill is happening.

Students tell NBC Charlotte this drill was different than any other they've had in the past. It happened when classes were changing, many of them texted their parents spreading panic and chaos outside of the school walls.

Students know the importance of lockdown drills.

“You see it all over the news, all these things happening at high schools and schools that people have shot up and it’s just scary not knowing that it’s a drill or anything,” one high school student said. 

The student said Thursday’s drill was unlike any other they’ve had before, she and many of her peers scared.

Jennifer Fielding's son is a junior on the football team.

"He said 'Mom, this just wasn't like the normal drills. They did it during class change and I really couldn't hear what was going on and a teacher grabbed me and pulled me into a classroom. We heard what sounded like people running up and down the hallways and jiggling the doors',” Fielding said.

Some students say they can't help but feel like all drills could be real. Parents say they know practicing for the worst-case scenario is necessary but some think sending notifications about them could help calm some chaos.

"Sending something to the parents either contemporaneously with the start of the drill or soon after it prevents the kids from panicking and it prevents parents from panicking and calling the school or driving up here,” Fielding said.

A representative for Gaston County Schools tells NBC Charlotte these lockdown drills are standard practice and they are never announced to students, staff or parents so that they are taken seriously. 

It has never been the practice to notify parents before or after a drill. They typically do them at the beginning of the year as a refresher for students.

CMS has a similar policy. They conduct at least 2 drills per year and do not alert anyone beforehand since it would interfere with the purpose of the drill.


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