• U.S.

Colorado School District Providing Kitty Litter Buckets for Kids to Use the Bathroom During Lockdowns

3 minute read

Among other school supplies, teachers in one Colorado public school district were recently given buckets and kitty litter so students are able to use the bathroom in the event of a lockdown, the district confirmed to TIME.

Some teachers were given the “go buckets” at a back-to-school training within the Jefferson County Public School District. This is the same district where the Columbine High School mass shooting left 12 student and one teacher dead in 1999.

“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,” Diana Wilson, a spokesperson for the Jefferson County School District tells TIME.

In April, Jefferson County schools were on lockout all day after a woman reportedly had an obsession with the Columbine shooting and posed a “credible threat” to the Denver area. She was later found dead in an apparent suicide.

For the coming school year, some teachers within the district were also given first aid items, as well as a Sharpie marker so they can write down the time they put a tourniquet on a bleeding student.

John McDonald, the head of security for Jefferson County Public Schools, said that the buckets are not required but they are strongly encouraged, according to Chalkbeat.

“We want to give our kids dignity in the middle of this type of crisis,” McDonald said. “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.”

According to McDonald, the idea came about a few years ago when one of the schools in the district, Alameda International Junior/Senior High School, was locked down for hours after it was reported that there was a gun in the school. Students had to use trash cans and closets for bathroom purposes.

He also says this isn’t the first year that the teachers have been provided with buckets, and that around half of the schools in the district currently have them.

Cassie Lopez, a teacher who was given a bucket during training, posted a video on Twitter expressing her concerns about what that represented.

“This isn’t normal,” Lopez said in the video. “Unfortunately our society is at a place where it is and we need to do something about it.”

Lopez is not upset that she was given these supplies, but she is unhappy that teachers have to worry about things like this, according to Chalkbeat.

“It feels like as a whole, America doesn’t care about our school children, which I don’t even have words for how awful that is,” Lopez said. “It feels like there’s this pressure for teachers to put your life on the line. That’s a lot to ask from teachers.”

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Write to Josiah Bates at josiah.bates@time.com