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Lockdown Video & FAQs

The 3 Outs: Lock Out, Get Out, Take Out

School Lockdown Frequently Asked Questions

  • A lockdown is the process of securing the building and classrooms for safety measures. It is used to separate students, faculty and staff from a serious threat whether it is on site or in the surrounding neighborhood. Examples of threats include a fugitive in the area, or an intruder in a school. A lockdown may be ordered by law enforcement, the school principal or any school staff who identify a potential threat.

  • There are two types of lockdowns:

    A red circle with a white padlock in the center. The words 'Lock-Out', 'Lockdown','Hide' and &'Barricade' are written in white on the gray circle.  


    A green circle with outlines of two people running in the center.  The words 'Get-Out' and 'Run Away' are in white on a gray circle around the green circle.

    A blue circle with the outline of an adult throwing a chair at another person, with the text 'Take-Out' and 'Fight' on the outer circle.

    1. Lockdown (also known as an Emergency Lockdown): During an emergency lockdown an automated announcement will be made over the intercom and repeated several times. Ifpossible, teachers will be given details about the incident and any descriptions available.

    Teachers have been taught that they have three response options, known as “the 3-outs”: Lock-Out, Get-Out or Take-Out. When possible, teachers will “Lock-Out”. They will pull students and visitors into their classrooms and lock the doors immediately. They will barricade the doors to help reinforce the locked doors. They will close window blinds and cover other windows, and will gather students away from the door and windows. Everyone will be encouraged to remain calm and quiet. The teachers will take attendance and prepare a list of students who are missing, extra, or injured. Unless the intruder is gaining entry into the room, everyone will remain in the room until a formal announcement is made signifying the end of the lockdown.

    If teachers cannot adequately secure the room they are in, or if the intruder is gaining entry into the room, they will take their students and will “Get-Out”. They may go to a room that can be secured, or they may leave the building.

    If the teacher cannot Lock-Out and cannot Get-Out, and they are confronted directly by the intruder in a life and death situation, their third option is to “Take-Out”. In other words, fight back. Teachers are encouraged to use whatever means necessary to gain the upper hand so that they and their students can escape.


    2. Soft Lockdown: A soft lockdown may be initiated when there is a condition outside the building that could be a potential threat to students and staff. An example might be when the police are searching for a fugitive in the area. When a soft lockdown is initiated because of a situation outside of the building, all exterior doors are locked and outside activities are prohibited. However, students and staff will continue regular school activities inside the building and are not confined to classrooms.

    A soft lockdown may also be initiated when school or local emergency responders need to keep students and staff in their classrooms and away from an incident or activity inside the building. An example might be when a piece of construction equipment needs to be brought into the building and the workers need the hallways cleared. When a soft lockdown is initiated because of a situation inside the building, students and faculty in the hallways will be instructed to return to their classrooms and to stay there until further notice. Teachers will be asked to lock their classroom doors, but regular classroom activities can continue.

  • No. Teachers will discuss in an age appropriate way what actions will be taken in the unlikely event that they are confronted by an intruder. Basically, those actions include distracting the intruder so that the students and teacher can escape.

  • As part of our emergency procedures, there is an established chain of command that includes district and school staff and local law enforcement.

  • Yes. We have ongoing partnerships with local law enforcement including the Joplin, Duquesne and Duenweg Police Departments and the Newton County Sheriff’s Department. During a lockdown, the police or sheriff’s department and school district will work collaboratively to respond to the threat and keep students and staff safe.

  • The district will notify parents as soon as possible about the lockdown through phone messages, emails, as well as the district website and social media pages. This is why it's vitally important to keep your contact information up-to-date.

    Please be aware that emergency situations are fluid and always changing, and that information you're getting from other sources such as the news media and personal Facebook pages may be inaccurate.

  • We understand that the first reaction of most parents is to come to their child's school. However, we ask that parents and guardians wait until we advise them that it's safe to pick up their child. Parents arriving unadvised to the school may actually hinder the emergency response and could jeopardize their own safety. In extreme cases, law enforcement can arrest anyone who they determine is compromising their efforts.

  • In the majority of lockdown scenarios, we advise that students and staff remain as quiet as possible and not use their phones. However, if you are contacted by your child, encourage him or her to remain calm and follow the directions of teacher and staff.

  • There are many ways that cell phone usage can compromise staff and student safety. A phone in use may:

    • Give away the location of students and staff in hiding to an intruder
    • Activate explosive devices
    • Overwhelm local communication networks
  • Everyone will remain in the lockdown mode until a formal announcement is made that ends the lockdown. After the lockdown ends, normal school activities may resume or students may be released to their parents or other authorized adults according to the school's release procedures.

  • Yes. Teachers attend training every school year. State law requires that the annual training be provided by law enforcement officers certified by the Missouri department of public safety's peace officers standards training commission. Joplin police officers assigned to the school resource officers program (SROs) lead the training and observe lockdown drills at each school. This training provides teachers with various options, techniques and strategies to enhance safety during an emergency lockdown.

  • Yes. Staff and students at every Joplin public school participate in a minimum of four lockdown drills each year. Information about the lockdown drill is communicated to students in an age-appropriate way, with teachers paying special attention not to alarm younger students.

  • If you have any questions or concerns about Joplin Schools lockdown procedures, contact your child’s school principal or Jim Hounschell, the Director of Safety and Security at 625-5230 Ext. 3008.