The New World We Live In
- By Ralph C. Jensen
- Jul 11, 2018
I’m old enough to remember fire alarm
drills and hiding under my desk as a
youth. The fire alarm drills were great
because we were able to leave the classroom
and go outside. I never understood
hiding under the desk, but went along
with it anyway. That’s the world I grew up in.
Today’s world has changed. Significantly.
To the youthful tune of, “Twinkle, Twinkle
Little Star,” students are now being educated
about what to do in the event of an
active shooter on campus. It goes something
“Lockdown, Lockdown, Lock the door
Shut the lights off, Say no more
Go behind the desk and hide
Wait until it’s safe inside
Lockdown, Lockdown it’s all done
Now it’s time to have some fun!”
This little jingle caught me completely
off guard but is being rehearsed throughout
numerous schools. In Somerville, Mass., a
school has this new rendition posted on the
wall and parents were as surprised as I was.
As a newly minted, rebranded parental
figure, this really shocked me, though it
seems to be the new world that we live in.
That’s not to say that a simple nursery rhyme
will save the day, but whatever it takes to give
the children the opportunity to stay safe.
The poster caught the attention of Georgy
Cohen and her husband, Rick Healey,
who were at the school in preparation of
sending their 5-year-old daughter to kindergarten
in the fall. Healey said he was “saddened”
to see the poster, but recognized why
the approach may be necessary in an era of
In a joint statement to The Washington
Post, Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone
and Public Schools Superintendent Mary
Skipper said the poem was an example of
a teacher’s strategy to “help her young students
stay calm and remember the key steps
they would need to follow during a drill or
“As much as we would prefer that school
lockdowns not be a part of the educational
experience, unfortunately this is the world we
live in,” the statement said.
Forget that old saying of, “not in my
school.” The reality is that an active shooter
will happen again. It is not if, but when.
Schools are scrambling to do whatever they
can to prepare and protect students and
staff, whether it be a bulletproof backpack
or a nursery rhyme that teaches proper procedures
during an active shooter event.
This article originally appeared in the July/August 2018 issue of Security Today.
Ralph C. Jensen is editor-in-chief of Security Today magazine.