Primary school children in Dundee are still being subjected to “lockdown” drills that simulate terror attacks two years after concerns were raised over their use.
The Tele understands that schools including Mill O’ Mains Primary and Glebelands Primary are among those which have undergone the drills in recent weeks.
Announced with several bursts of the school bell, the procedures see children scurrying under desks, lights turned out, blinds closed and doors locked.
The drill is intended to simulate the response to an adverse event such as a terror attack.
Parents have been sent letters outlining that such drills can be carried out – with school bosses describing the dry runs as “standard procedure”.
One letter, sent to parents of Mill O’ Mains Primary, says: “Our lockdown procedure would be used when there is a threat to the safety of pupils, staff and others in the school, and when it is safer for everyone to remain in school than evacuate.”
According to the message, the situations a lockdown procedure would be used in include “a potentially dangerous person or animal”, “a disturbance or dangerous situation”, “a nearby chemical incident” or “an incident related to terrorism”.
Yvonne Mullen, from the Mill O’Mains Community Pavilion Group, said the use of lockdowns appeared to be a sign of the times due to the persistent threat of terrorism.
She said: “Most parents are of the opinion it’s sad that it’s had to come to this kind of thing, but feel it’s for the safety of kids.
“It’s a bit extreme in my opinion, like something from before the Second World War. It is very odd.”
Lockdown drills first came to light in Dundee in December 2017, when Craigie High pupils were subjected to the anti-terror routine without warning.
However, it is understood that the routines have been proactively carried out for several years, and are not inspired by any brand new intelligence.
Teachers’ union NASUWT has issued guidance to schools which recommends: “There is a threat to schools from a terrorist/extremist weapons attack.
“It is low threat, not ‘no threat’, and therefore schools should have a contingency plan.”
A spokesman for Dundee City Council said: “As part of our resilience testing procedures, and just like fire drills, each school carries out an exercise like this from time to time.
“While it is important that any drill is as realistic as possible, we do inform parents at the beginning of each school year that at some point there will be a lock down drill.
“The school community is also kept informed.”
The Scottish Government does not have specific guidelines on lockdown procedures.
A government spokeswoman said: “The health and safety of all pupils and staff is paramount, and we expect local authorities to meet their legal responsibilities to deliver safe environments for all school users.”