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The School Intruder Drill


school intruder drill

Each day after school, I ask my kids what they did. Most days are pretty mundane – class work, lunch, recess. The routine is comforting. As a dad, I want their days to be as uneventful as possible. However, my daughter managed to jar me back to reality with her answer.

“We had an intruder drill,” she said.

“What?” I asked.

“We had to pretend that someone was in our school and take the appropriate measures,” she replied. She went on to describe their procedure and the image frightened me. Although I’m glad that her school has a plan in place to deal with such an event, I’m saddened that it is necessary.

After my daughter mentioned her intruder drill, I made her explain the process to me step-by-step. I wanted to be informed and make sure that the school hadn’t missed anything (I was a safety officer at my former company). The most troubling part of the conversation was her nonchalance. All of her statements were said in a matter-of-fact manner. To her, preparing for a school intruder was as normal as studying for a science test.

Sadly, this is the environment in which we live. When I was a child, we had regular fire drills and the occasional bomb drill. Neither were cause for concern and no one really paid much attention to them. We shrugged off these drills because the likelihood of something bad happening was minuscule. The odds of an intruder entering a school are probably lower, but recent events have made them more prominent in our minds.

As my daughter spoke, I tried to maintain my composure but all I could do was think about the children in Newtown. My soul became heavy and I felt helpless. If someone breeched the security at my children’s school’s, I could do nothing about it. I couldn’t save my children. I could only wait and pray that they survived. No mother ever wants her children to be harmed. No father ever wants to feel as if he can’t protect his kids. No parent wants to experience this anxiety.

Later that night, I gave all three of my children an extra hug and kiss.

“What was that for?” asked my daughter.

“Because I’m your daddy and I love you,” I replied.

“I love you too, daddy.” She smiled and darted up the stairs.

Although this culture has stolen some of her innocence, I promise to guard the rest of it with all of my being.

Stay Strong,

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Question: Do your kids’ schools have plans in place to deal with intruders?

About Author

Frederick J. Goodall is the founder of Mocha Dad - a parenting website focused on fatherhood. He is passionate about parenting and helping men to be great dads, husbands, and role models. You can contact him at or on Twitter at


  1. It saddens me too that we must face this in our world today. Though as I read your remarks, I remember our drills as a child myself. DUCK AND COVER!!! A practice that will protect you from falling debris in an earthquake, as well as the nuclear blast that we were all terrified was coming from Russia.

    No, really. We had a Russian exchange girl somewhere around middle school or early high school. My only question I had for her was what they were told about us. She said, “They told us that you Americans wanted to nuke us.” I remember replying, “Funny, that’s what we were told about you.”

    We just do our best.

    The Cheeky Daddy

  2. We do indeed … but there was one (as well as some serious evacuation plans in place as well) but that has a lot to do with being in an international school, living abroad as those plans have been in place long before massive school shootings started happening. It is something that likely feels less shocking in our situation … but doesn’t make it any less sad or unfortunate.

  3. “If someone breeched the security at my children’s school’s, I could
    do nothing about it. I couldn’t save my children. I could only wait and
    pray that they survived. No mother ever wants her children to be harmed.
    No father ever wants to feel as if he can’t protect his kids. No parent
    wants to experience this anxiety.” So true! Every school drill I have
    experienced in PA, CO, and FL has basically been “wait and pray to survive.” Pray you
    will not be harmed, and wait. Pray someone will come to protect you,
    and wait. Doesn’t James2:14-20 tell us there is a difference between
    praying and waiting vs. praying and taking action? If we truly desire to
    protect our children from harm, we need to work together with our
    schools and the law enforcement officers and first responders in our
    communities to develop meaningful, reality-based ACTION plans, not
    meaningless(dangerous?), fantasy-based WAIT plans. Yes, I believe we
    should pray first, but then what? Wait and hope not to be harmed? Wait
    and hope for protection to arrive before all is lost? If an intruder
    presents an immediate an unavoidable lethal threat to the lives of
    innocent children, then what is wrong with taking immediate action to
    protect those children from that threat? Isn’t it also wrong to promote the idea that
    the best thing to do is pray and then do nothing but wait while
    innocents are being harmed all around us? “He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in
    it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without
    protesting against it is really cooperating with it; History will have to record that the greatest tragedy
    of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the
    bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people” Rev Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

  4. It’s a scary world we live in sometimes. My kids are teens and they have been doing these kind of drills in their schools for years. Recently, our schools have taken even more safety measures. All doors are locked and you can only be buzzed in after showing your ID and stating your specific reason for being at the school.

  5. I am in youth legislature and plan to try to make it at least 4 times a year or something like that. Parents want their children to be safe and children want to live out their lives. I should know. My mom yells at me when I cross the street without looking (ACCIDENTALLY!!!!).