School Lockdown Drill Dashboard

While more than 98% of K-12 schools conduct lockdown drills, there is variability in state requirements for the number and types of drills that should be conducted. The School Lockdown Drill Dashboard provides easy insight into how these requirements differ across states. Hover over a state for more detail.

See the dropdowns below the dashboard for more information on background, methodology, and other resources, and read the blog introducing this dashboard.

  • Introduction

    Lockdown drills are part of schools’ comprehensive efforts to prepare students and staff for a range of emergencies their building may face. Although often discussed synonymously with active shooter protocols (which reference options-based procedures specifically for armed assailants), lockdown drills can be used for any active threat inside of the school. This can include active shooters but also may include other type of criminal activity that enters the building or dangerous animals, among other possible threats.

    The purpose of the lockdown procedure during an emergency is to build time and distance between the threat and the school building’s occupants. This is accomplished by securing doors to classrooms and offices, turning off the lights in the space,1 moving out of sight of any interior corridor windows, and remaining silent for the duration of the lockdown. Room occupants should not respond to any knocks at their door once they have completed the steps of the lockdown. Like the equally as common fire drills, lockdown drills provide opportunities for students and staff to practice these steps in a controlled environment.

    During the 2019-2020 school year, approximately 98% of public K-12 schools had conducted lockdown drills with students and staff. Moreover, as of June 2022, more than 96% of public schools in the United States had written plans for active shooter response. While the steps of the lockdown drill often are similar, there is variability in state requirements for the number and types of drills that should be conducted. This dashboard provides the current requirements for emergency preparedness drills, including lockdowns, by state.

    [1] The step of turning off the lights, as well as potentially covering classroom windows, can vary by jurisdiction. School administrations should consult with local law enforcement and state guidance about these steps.

  • Methodology

    The initial list of drill requirements by state was gathered from the Education Commission of the States’ comprehensive list of school safety policies. From there, each state’s law was reviewed, as was their respective department of education’s website, to ensure that all information was accurate and current. This dashboard was constructed using data from Schildkraut & Nickerson (2022), Lockdown Drills: Connecting Research and Best Practices for School Administrators, Teachers, and Parents.

  • Resources