The Washington Times may be more of a tip sheet for Republican operatives than a newspaper, but Bill Gertz’s reporting is reliable. That’s why this story is unsettling.
One Eduwonk reader with a lot of experience with foreign policy/spook work discounts this report but says that the plans schools have in the event of a terrorist attack are insufficient, nonetheless. He’s skeptical of the plans to lockdown students and says they might even work in favor of the terrorists.
“My concern with the schools is that, in our area at least, in the event of any so-called “code blue” emergency–terrorist, biohazard, chemical release, severe weather, all the schools would go into “lock-down.” and prevent any children from leaving school even if their parents come to claim them. There are not enough police to protect every school. Clever terrorists could create a code-blue diversion by releasing suspect smoke/gas, for instance, or by making a threat, solely in order to precipitate the lockdown. The terrorists would then have their choice, just in this [the Washington, D.C.] area of 300 unprotected schools, none of which were designed with safe havens or even the most basic security features. If they chose wisely they could find among their hostages the children and spouses of movers and shakers in the government.”
Of course, it’s not clear how an alternative to the lockdown strategy would work either.