Terrorism in the world of our grandkids – the risks they are being prepared for 32



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With the terrorism chatter in Australia again at an all time high following the Sydney Siege, I took the time today to talk to my kids who are the age of many of your grandkids about the subject and was astounded by just how much they understand and are being taught in their primary school environments today.  But there was one thing that truly astounded all of us adults, and that was the drills children have been doing and the actions they have been taught in case of grave danger that all of them could relay.  I guess we can say that their schools are teaching them “terrorism drills”.

As we all know, terrorism has not really been a problem in Australia until recently, but with great speed our country is being forced to grapple with it, the biggest impact we are likely to face it is in the lives of our children who as innocent bystanders need to be protected at all cost.  And whilst most of us are inclined to want to protect our kids and grandkids from discussions about terrorism, it seems our schools are taking the opposite approach, preparing them for what is to come. One family discussion today had most of us adults agape as we listened to our young children tell us how their schools want them to react.

I have to admit that we haven’t discussed terrorism a whole lot in our house.  There is no doubt that our children hear about it on the news, and that we discuss the fact that unkind people are doing horrible things to people who don’t deserve it when it is raised by them, but I don’t think we’ve sat down to discuss the risks and dangers in detail as we did today.  And, being together with my American family, we were also able to hear how American schools are preparing their children first hand.

Our Miss 9, a primary school student in year three, started to tell us how her school had taught them to react in the case that a stranger was to enter their school grounds.  “The school has two bells; one for normal use, and the other is for when there is danger in the school grounds.  The school will play the tune “Waltzing Matilda” through the loudspeaker and all the students will move into emergency mode,” she said.  And she knew exactly what it was that she, at her young age, must do if she was to hear this tune through the speakers, describing it in detail to all of us while we sat stunned at the level of detail she went into.

In contrast, the process for my 6 year old niece in California school is not dissimilar.  They have “danger drills” for if someone unknown or dangerous enters the school grounds.  The teacher tells them that she wants them to follow the danger instructions and do exactly what she says.  They have been told they will in these drills have to hide in the classroom and be very very quiet and she hands out colouring in to distract them from any concerns.  “We have practiced being really really quiet and hiding,” she said.  Children drawing.

It both surprised and kind of delighted me to hear just how well-planned my childrens’ schools are, but also saddened me to think that the schools have had to become well-prepared and I hope they never ever have need to use this training.  Have you every discussed terrorism associated dangers with your Grandkids or were you aware that schools were establishing such plans for the children?  How do you feel about it?


Rebecca Wilson

Rebecca Wilson is the founder and publisher of Starts at Sixty. The daughter of two baby boomers, she has built the online community for over 60s by listening carefully to the issues and seeking out answers, insights and information for over 60s throughout Australia. Rebecca is an experienced marketer, a trained journalist and has a degree in politics. A mother of 3, she passionately facilitates and leads our over 60s community, bringing the community opinions, needs and interests to the fore and making Starts at Sixty a fun place to be.

  1. There have been two drills in Australian schools for many years…. Fire drill and lockdown which is used in the case of any threatening person on the school grounds, bomb threats or any hazardous material from an accident . Both procedures have a completely different sound so the children can identify them immediately. These have never been called terrorist drills in my many years in schools and only once in 40 years has there ever been an actual Lockdown which occurred when the children were at play. It was called as a parent came to the school and acted in a threatening manner…. No weapons were involved, the whole process went like clockwork So the practice procedures worked perfectly. Schools will never put fear into children’s mind but will certainly emphasise how important it is that the procedures are followed.

    1 REPLY
    • Yes. After Ash Wednesday, every Victorian school had to write a Displan which involved not only fires, but crashed petrol tankers and planes, kidnappings etc. Those people we let into the country had nothing to do with it. My only issue was also with a disturbed parent we were warned was carrying a rifle in his car.

  2. On a more humorous note I remember a fire drill many years ago when one of my pupils was missing when I called the roll . When I tracked him down he told me….. I just went back to get my bird …….Which he had bought in for Morning Talk. It certainly became a teaching point but I still laugh about it.

  3. Sad times ahead for our beautiful country…terrorism is what our future faces. Who would have ever have thought of this in Australia… Very sad

  4. A sad reflection of the type of people our politically correct government has let into our country

    3 REPLY
  5. An excellent idea, although we wish it was not so, for schools to have something in place in case one of these terrible things happen in Australian schools….

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