The Student News Site of Parkway Central High School

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Staff Editorial: Safety drill seriousness will keep us safer

Photo Illustration by Mia Kweskin.

Photo Illustration by Mia Kweskin.

Corral Staff

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Photo Illustration by Mia Kweskin.

Intruder Alert! Intruder Alert! A group of students chat, laugh and text as they huddle into the corner of their classroom while their teacher flips the lights off and locks the door. Suddenly the door handle shakes. Students laugh louder and poke fun at the ridiculousness. Of course, this is only the scene of an intruder drill, but in wake of the recent shootings, it is not the district who is unprepared, but rather it is the students and teachers who need to take all safety drills, intruder and evacuation, more seriously.

According to assistant principal Mr. Chris Dallas, the district determines the number of safety drills for all of the Parkway schools. Each year, there are 10 fire and evacuation drills, two tornado drills and two lockdown drills. These drills typically take place during the first week or two of a month and are scheduled during different hours to ensure students have experienced the drill procedure in each class.

Parkway states the goal to “develop and implement safety procedures for the event of localized and/or wide-range emergencies or disasters.” It seems, for the most part, that the district has followed through with that promise by implementing safety drills. However, a lack of seriousness from students and teachers counteracts the drills.

On Sept. 27, a dirty detector caused the fire alarm to sound, forcing students at first lunch to scatter outside and giving students and teachers still in classes a chance to test the effectiveness of their rehearsed fire drill procedures. Outside of the English department, teachers could be seen leaning against the wall as they waited to be let back into the building. The key problem in this situation is this fire alarm was not a planned safety drill, yet because fire drills are taken in such a light manner, this potentially real alarm felt no different. All of the fire drills meant to keep us safe went to waste that day, as it was clear that had this really been a fire, leaning against the wall would have led to disaster.

Likewise on Feb. 8, there was a small flare-up in a chemistry sink during after school hours. Fire trucks arrived and an announcement was made that this was not just a drill. However, according to teachers and students who were still at school, numerous people chose not to evacuate. Once more all of the fire drills meant to prepare us became meaningless.

Furthermore, during the most recent intruder drill, a rumor spread through the halls that the only reason we had the intruder drill was so the drug dogs could come in unnoticed. It is appalling that students would believe this to be the “only reason” an intruder drill would be necessary.

Tahmeed Ahmad wrote in a Dec. 26 letter to “The New York Times:” “One lesson we must learn from the tragedy is to take these drills seriously. For every facility, school or office, Newtown should serve as a reminder that drills are not a waste of time; they help us be better prepared to ensure our safety and that of others.”

Clearly students who, like Ahmad writes, feel drills are a “waste of time” have not stopped to think how crucial drills could be if taken more seriously. While all of the shootings that have taken place in recent months should make us stop and think, the Sandy Hook tragedy should lie incredibly close everyone’s hearts – so close as to make people stop with the chatting, texting, laughing and joking and instead take a stand to make safety drill seriousness a priority.

Dallas encourages teachers to express to students the seriousness of drills and the need to listen to directions. The district has created the best possible procedures; now it is in the students’ and teachers’ hands to treat these drills as if they are real. The sooner we take drills seriously, the sooner we create a safe environment and prevent the tragedies that have turned our world upside down.

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The Student News Site of Parkway Central High School
Staff Editorial: Safety drill seriousness will keep us safer