Math = Love: Lock-Down

Sunday, February 19, 2017


I started this blog post on Friday, but exhaustion won over finishing this post.  Friday started out as a normal school day.  First hour, my Algebra 1 students took a quiz over dividing radicals.  Then, we started one of my favorite units of the year: polynomials.

Second hour, we had our much anticipated egg drop.  It didn't go exactly as planned, but we made it work.  It turns out that if you don't drop the eggs on concrete that ALL of the eggs survive.  Lesson learned!

Third hour, my math concepts students began to work on divisibility rules.  This was going kinda well.  The kids were getting a bit frustrated, but I'm not sure if it was the divisibility rules causing the trouble or the worksheet I had chosen.

Then, everything changed when a student brought something to my desk to ask what it was.  She had found it laying on the floor under the table.  It was a bullet.  Or, at least I thought it was a bullet.  A few of my other students gathered around my desk, and we each took turns looking at it trying to figure out if it was really a bullet.

Once I was 99% sure it was a bullet, I left my classroom in search of the principal.  As I was walking out the door of my classroom, one of my kids started to freak that his fingerprints were now on the bullet.  He begged me to wipe off his fingerprints before I turned it in.

I found my principal after a bit of searching, and he confirmed that it was a .22 caliber bullet.  This was third hour, and my room had been vacuumed during seventh period the previous day.  This meant that the bullet must belong to one of the students in my first hour or second hour.

After questioning each student in my first two classes of the day, the principal announced that if the owner of the bullet did not come forward that we would have to go on lock-down and get the police involved.

Nobody came forward, so we did end up going on lock-down.  Students were not allowed to leave the classroom they were in until the lock-down was over.  This is the type of thing they don't teach you to deal with in college.  How do you comfort students when they are expressing their fears that there could be a school shooting?

We remained on lock-down while the police went from room to room searching each each students' bag and pockets.  This meant that our middle school students missed their lunch period.  Our high school students missed the first half or so of their lunch period.  Students were given an extended lunch period which ended up throwing off our class right after lunch.

I am thankful that my school took this event seriously.  They put our safety before everything else,
I'm especially thankful for this three day weekend to recover from the exhaustion of a day spent on lock-down.  It's an experience I hope I never have to go through again.


  1. You're right, lock downs are no fun! We've had several since I started teaching and they can have so many strange twists you don't think about before they happen (no bathroom in a portable for instance). I'm glad things turned out ok. Enjoy your days off!

  2. Lock downs are a pain. But they are a result of the times we live in. I have been in schools where lock downs occur because of something off campus (robbery, shooting, etc) You are right when you say they don't teach you to deal with this kind of stuff. I think the worst was the drug lock down we had, where all the lockers were searched and the police brought the drug dogs.

    My other least favorite are the evacuations. We had a gas leak at school one year; we had to evacuate 1st period and were not allowed back in until 4th period. Talk about throwing off the schedule!

    THen there was the year that a tornado warning was issued after students headed to the buses, but before the buses left. All students had to taken off the buses and were sent to the gym until the warning was lifted. 1000+ middle school students in the gym, with no idea what is happening, and teachers who had no idea either!

  3. I am so thankful that your school took the presense of ammunition in the classroom seriously. My school is a mix of rural and suburban, so hunting is just a natural part of many of my student's lives and forget that there are very inappropriate places for guns and ammunition.

    A few years ago my school went into a lockdown because of a school shooting resulting in the death of two students. The event happened before school (might be worth mentioning to the powers that be to have at least one drill a year during passing, lunch, or before school) and, because of the drill, it took 90 minutes to get the last students out of the building because they had no teacher in the room yet and barricaded themselves *because* we spent years talking about what to do in case the worse happens.