What's the difference between a school lockdown and lockout?

By: Trey Serna

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Lockdown vs. lockout: When it comes to school safety, do you know the difference?

Just a few weeks into the school year, the Valley has seen its share of school-related threats.

During these situations, things can be stressful and confusing for parents, which is why school districts have in place the standard response protocol. The protocol is from the "I Love U Guys" Foundation and many districts in the Valley and state use this when responding to school threats.

Two of the terms often used are lockdown and lockout. They sound similar, but they mean two completely different things.

Danny Castillo, the director of emergency management and school safety at the Harlingen Consolidated Independent School District, says that there was so much confusion over those two terms that the foundation made some changes.

"One thing that was changed in late 2020, and now has become a standard for here at HCISD and other districts across our state, is with the standard response protocols the lockout was changed to secure,” Castillo said. "So a secure, that protocol is basically initiated when there's a threat or hazard that is identified outside of the school building.  Basically on a secure, formerly known as a lockout, the basic protocol is announced as secure. Get inside. Lock outside doors. They just want to take the precaution and bring everyone inside the main school building."

Castillo says that a secure is normally called when there's police activity near the school. It's drastically different than a lockdown.

"A lockdown is basically ordered when there is a threat or hazard identified inside the school building," Castillo said. "The protocol is announced for a lockdown. Lockdown. Locks. Lights. Out of sight. And I think that sometimes one of those terms that is easily tossed around during conversation is the lockdown practice. I think parents and citizens need to understand that there is a tremendous difference between a secure and a lockdown."

If you'd like to get familiar with the terms go to txssc.txstate.edu or check with your child's school.


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