According to TIME, teachers in a Colorado School District weren’t just given school supplies to start the 2019/2020 school year.
As the Jefferson County School District confirmed to the magazine, teachers were also given buckets and kitty litter to store in each of their classrooms. The reason for the buckets and the kitty litter were so that students can use the restroom in the event of a lockdown.
As TIME reports, this past April, schools in Jefferson County were put on lockdown for an entire day following a credible threat by a woman reportedly “obsessed” with the Columbine High School shooting that took place in 1999.
Diana Wilson, a spokesperson for the Jefferson County School District, explained the decision to issue the buckets to TIME:
“Our emergency procedures include a Lockdown protocol if there is a threat inside the building. Lockdowns require each classroom to be cleared by school security or law enforcement after the threat has been mitigated and can be a long process. The go buckets include items to support students and staff if needed – including bodily functions.”
And according to the head of security for Jefferson County Public Schools, John McDonald, this isn’t the first year the buckets and litter have been issued to the teachers.
In fact, the idea for the makeshift commodes came several years ago after an all-day lockdown at one of their schools resulted in students using trash cans and closets.
McDonald told TIME:
“We want to give our kids dignity in the middle of this type of crisis. We really start with a belief that training creates a fundamental climate and culture of school safety, and you can be emergency prepared without being emergency scared.”
In addition to the litter, teachers also received first aid items like tourniquets and a sharpie that is to be used to write down the time the tourniquet was put on the injured student. They were also provided pop-up tents for when the bucket is needed.
According to TIME, a teacher for one of the Jefferson County Schools recorded a video in response to the supplies she was given at the start of the school year.
Cassie Lopez clarified that she wasn’t upset she was given the supplies, but rather, is upset because these are now the things teachers need to worry about:
Cassie, an amazing educator and friend of mine, shared this video today. This is the current reality in our public schools. This cannot be allowed to be the new normal. #ThisIsAmerica pic.twitter.com/4xeS2wsXVh
— Melea Mayen (@MFoleyMayen) August 13, 2019
As Lopez said in the video, this shouldn’t be normal and “as a society, we need to do something about it.”