'Lockdown Buckets' Provide Layer of Help in the Classroom

School Resource Officer spearheads effort to help when emergencies happen

 

DALLAS TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) -- Schools being placed on lockdown is an all-too-common occurrence these days. It can leave teachers and students shorthanded for supplies when they have to scamper. Eyewitness News Reporter Mark Hiller shows us how a local police officer is helping the school be better prepared for that situation.
 
Inside a second grade classroom at Wycallis Elementary School, students use containers filled with markers, pencils and even chalk. But there's a much larger container at the door that's used for something else. It's called a 'Lockdown Bucket'. "Anything that can be done to make it easier for them in a very tough situation is what I wanted to focus on," said Dallas School Resource Officer Gina Kotowski with the Dallas Township Police Department. 
 
Ofc. Kotowski is behind the"Lockdown Bucket" effort. Each one is filled with essentials including personal paper products, a flashlight and band aids. Teachers and students might need these things if they had to leave the classroom in an emergency. That's what happened last year when the district went on lockdown following bomb threats that Officer Kotowski still finds deeply disturbing. "Watching the fear and the absolute horror of the unknowing of what could potentially be."
 
Ofc. Kotowski rounded up community donations to buy the buckets that school leaders call 'Go Buckets'. "It's going to allow us to spend an extended period of time in a lockdown situation and be prepared for all of the materials you might need," said Dallas School District Director of Curriculum Thomas Traver.
 
Besides the 'Lockdown' or 'Go Buckets', there are 'Go Bags' -- something on wheels that can easily be pulled that can contain such things as a walkie talkie, student information and emergency contact lists. With two young children in the district, Samantha Naylor appreciates what Ofc. Kotowski did for safety sake. "I think the emergency kits are a really good idea and it makes me feel better as a parent."
 
A bucket of help -- just in case. "They're there and they'll be used when and if needed," said Ofc. Kotowski who pointed out that the buckets are also age appropriate. Some elementary classroom buckets could contain coloring books while some at the high school level might be equipped with cell phone chargers.
 

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