What Happens When There's a Lockdown at a School in Mississauga?

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In Mississauga, it’s not unusual for Peel policde to announce that a school or daycare is in hold and secure.

Less frequently, schools go into lockdown.

We know it sound scary, but what do those terms actually mean, and what do police do when hold and secures and lockdowns are implemented?

"Finding out that your child's school has initiated emergency procedures can be stressful. As a parent, you start racking your brain to remember which safety procedure is which, and what that means for your child," Peel police says on their website.

In the case of an emergency within a school or the immediate area, police and the school board have implemented protocol called SPEAR, which stands for School Police Emergency Action Response.


SPEAR is a database designed to assist with crucial decision making during the early dispatch and response to a major incident at or near a school. Currently, there are three levels of security that a school may enter depending on the incident:

Lockdown is the restriction of movement during the time of a potentially serious violent incident that could endanger the lives of students and staff. During a lockdown, exterior doors to the school are not locked, interior doors are locked wherever possible and students stay quiet and lie down on the floor away from windows and doors and remain that way until otherwise notified.

Hold and Secure in the event of an emergency situation outside but not related to a school, the school would be placed in a hold and secure. During a hold and secure the exterior doors to the school are locked to prevent anyone from entering the building, but staff and students inside the school can operate normally.

Shelter in Place is if there is an environmental or weather related situation where it is necessary to keep all occupants within the school to protect them from an external situation such as a chemical spill, blackout or explosion, the procedure is called shelter in place.


For parents wondering what to do when this happens at their child's school, here are a few suggestions during this time:

  • Do not go to the school. You will not be able to get close to a school that is in lockdown and you will not be allowed inside a school that is in hold and secure.

  • Do not call the school. If the school is in lockdown, no one will answer the phone. The lines need to be left available for staff to liaise with police and the school board to coordinate safety plans.

  • Contact police via phone or social media sites to receive information and updates on the situation.

For more information about the SPEAR program please contact the SPEAR Coordinator at 905-453-2121 ext. 3621 or 3624.

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