Homeland Security Conducts Unannounced Lock-down Drill at Glen Ridge High

BY  |  Thursday, Mar 13, 2014 8:00am  |  COMMENTS (18)

 U.S. Department of Homeland SecurityWe know our children have lock-down drills. It’s a sad, unfortunate part of the world we live in. However Glen Ridge students had a lock-down drill supervised by Homeland Security!

On Thursday, March 6, a team comprised of ten officials from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, and the NJ Department of Education’s Safety and Security Task Forces visited Glen Ridge High School to conduct an unannounced school lock-down drill.  With the exception of Glen Ridge Superintendent Dr. John Mucciolo and Chief of Police Sheila Byron-Lagattutta, no Glen Ridge Public School personnel received advanced notice of the exercise.

After a brief interview with GRHS Principal Dirk Phillips, the federal/state security team instructed Mr. Phillips to activate the school’s lock-down protocol.  The protocol was initiated, the police arrived, and the drill went off successfully.

In the aftermath of the drill, the security team reported back to Dr. Mucciolo. “They were extremely impressed, with the school community’s response and the school’s close cooperation with the police,” he said, adding that he and Chief Byron-Lagattutta were subsequently asked to make a presentation on this ongoing cooperative effort at an upcoming Essex County Safety Summit.

Superintendent Dr. Mucciolo praised the GRHS administrators, staff and students, as well as the local police force for their efforts. “The NJ DOE team told us that of all the schools they have visited, GRHS was one of the best.”



  1. POSTED BY profwilliams  |  March 13, 2014 @ 1:34 pm

    Did GRH adhere to the sit and wait for the bad guy to find you method of “drilling”? As it is, for most schools, the lock down is questionable as new ideas (scrambling, being loud and otherwise hard to get) come into practice.

    Because the thought of sitting quietly in a classroom as someone has free reign to walk around the school (cops don’t come in till they’ve “assembled”) makes you a sitting duck.

    Hopefully, like duck and cover, the “stand quiet agains the wall,” method of protecting kids will hopefully change too: https://abcnews.go.com/US/students-trained-fight-armed-attackers/story?id=17689633#.UJ8RzIWhUeM

  2. POSTED BY mzmanners  |  March 13, 2014 @ 2:33 pm

    As Georgette says, this is sad. How terrible to live in a society with a government terrifying children. Shameful.

  3. POSTED BY croiagusanam  |  March 13, 2014 @ 2:34 pm

    Cops don’t “assemble” any longer before entering. Largely as a result of the Columbine experience, protocol dictates that responders enter immediately and engage the shooter without waiting for a full complement of personnel to arrive on scene.

  4. POSTED BY Georgette Gilmore  |  March 13, 2014 @ 2:42 pm


    I must clarify that when I said “It’s a sad, unfortunate part of the world we live in,” I was referring to gun violence and mass shootings at school that occur with more frequency. Not the drills that are put into place to try to protect our children.

  5. POSTED BY walleroo  |  March 13, 2014 @ 3:29 pm

    I agree with Georgette that it is sad that we know about our children’s lock-down drills. It would be much better if they were kept a secret.

  6. POSTED BY dachu3  |  March 14, 2014 @ 1:51 pm

    It is sad that our children must be sitting in a gun free zone with no armed guard to protect them so that the killer get the kill count higher.

    I don’t see Gov Christie or Pres Obama going around with unarmed security and Gun Free zone signs.

    Plus, statistically speaking, mass shooting are not on the rise but are majorly hyped by the Mainstream Media to promote an gun control agenda.

    You are more likely to die driving a car…

  7. POSTED BY walleroo  |  March 15, 2014 @ 4:56 pm

    You are more likely to die driving a car…

    Maybe the school guards should be armed with Volvos…

  8. POSTED BY PAZ  |  March 15, 2014 @ 10:04 pm

    Go Ridgers!!

  9. POSTED BY profwilliams  |  March 16, 2014 @ 11:11 am

    Agreed, cro. But even with this, at Sandy Hook it was 6 mins from the time the first cops arrived to when they entered the school.

    My point though is just that: being “locked down” — where kids and staff are kept in one place, waiting (helplessly) for help— even for 6 mins– is NOT the best plan.

    The issues is NOT what the cops are doing, but those trapped inside with these monsters are doing.

    Here’s an NPR story on this: https://www.npr.org/2012/10/11/162712905/to-survive-a-shooting-students-learn-to-fight-back

  10. POSTED BY croiagusanam  |  March 16, 2014 @ 11:17 am

    Sorry, but the image of 200 7 year old kids running around screaming, throwing soup cans and heading off in a thousand different directions does not conjure a better scenario.

    When they are locked down, they are in the corner of a room that is locked and they’re as safe as possible awaiting a response. The key is getting the response there quickly and, more importantly, preventing access to the school in the first place. That’s what this lockdown was designed to test.

  11. POSTED BY profwilliams  |  March 16, 2014 @ 12:41 pm

    “the image of 200 7 year old kids running around screaming, throwing soup cans and heading off in a thousand different directions … ”

    It’s that exact image that some say is better than lining the little ones up against that wall. Waiting.

    Oh, and a locked door? Most of these old schools have locks that can be broken by said 7-year-old. If someone wants in, he or she is getting into a “locked” room. I’d also invite you to look at the stats provided in the npr link before you dismiss running and screaming out of hand.

    Understand, it “feels” like sitting quietly against a wall, waiting for help is the best plan. But (according to the npr piece) looking at evidence from school shootings, perhaps it isn’t. Or at least sitting quietly shouldn’t lull us into “feeling” safer.

    Agreed about letting the monsters in in the first place. But take a look at some schools, some feature full-wall windows- making the entire room visible (and accessible) from the outside. So yes. Running around and screaming is exactly what some are drilling kids to do. Better than lining kids up against the wall, praying for the best.

    We saw this kind of approach with hijackings back in the day- remember then? We were told to sit back, do what the hijackers wanted, the thinking was the plane will land in Cuba or someplace. Now? Hell no. (Along with putting air marshals on board), most folks know to fight back. The Richard Reed (shoe bomber) case showed this.

    Those precious minutes doing nothing usually only benefit the bad guys.

    That said, dumb luck probably plays the biggest part, regardless of method adopted.

  12. POSTED BY walleroo  |  March 16, 2014 @ 1:20 pm

    Arm each kid with a small Volvo.

    Another problem solved!

  13. POSTED BY croiagusanam  |  March 16, 2014 @ 2:46 pm

    “Some say”.

    Yeah, some say many things. But the overwhelming majority of law enforcement agencies, local state and federal, say otherwise.

    Including the Secret Service, which released the definitive study on school shootings more than 15 years ago.

    Access has to be harder to gain, and internal locks etc. have to be first rate. More and more schools are moving towards that. But screaming first graders — no, that’s chaos, and chaos aids the bad guys. I’ll trust the professionals on this one.

  14. POSTED BY niknik  |  March 16, 2014 @ 7:51 pm

    “Including the Secret Service, which released the definitive study on school shootings more than 15 years ago. . . . I’ll trust the professionals on this one.” They’ve certainly got it right since then. Lol.

    “It’s a sad, unfortunate part of the world we live in.” Indeed. Many better places to live, one would think.

  15. POSTED BY PAZ  |  March 16, 2014 @ 10:17 pm

    Nik….Yeah, like the Ukraine? There’s trouble all over the world. Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide.

  16. POSTED BY croiagusanam  |  March 16, 2014 @ 10:29 pm

    Who didn’t get it right, niknik? The Secret Service, which protects the president and domestic and foreign officials with consummate professionalism and expertise each day? Or the local municipal and school officials, who have largely passed on the recommendations made by the Secret Service in their study? Of course you realize that school shootings, while “sexy” from a news media point of view, are extremely rare, and that kids are safer in school than they are at home? You know that, right? LOL.

  17. POSTED BY sillyphus  |  March 17, 2014 @ 4:43 pm

    I think they should hide under their desks covering their heads, if it worked for thwarting atom bombs, what chanced will a mere mortal have against it.

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