Code Red: Student’s Don’t Respond
By: Alima Mootoo
Throughout our careers as students, we have had to perform countless lockdown drills in anticipation of an intruder coming into our school building. According to CHS’s Crisis Management Plan, the general lockdown procedure of our school, and most other schools, is for teachers to lock their classroom doors and stand away from them. The drill is meant to prepare us for possible crises, but many students, and occasionally even teachers, tend to take them very lightly, making their chances of not knowing what to do during a real crisis much higher.
During drills, students talk, sit in chairs, and don’t listen to or for instructions. They stand in front of the doors, and sometimes even walk around. Many of them assume that because it is “just a drill”, they don’t need to take it seriously, however, that is not the case. In order for both staff and students to truly be prepared for an intruder lockdown, it is necessary for the school to experience a thorough drill. During an unannounced drill, CHS should have someone come in to act as an intruder so the staff and students will take the situation seriously and execute the Crisis Management Plan. This would test the efficiency of the plan, and assess how everyone would act.
INTERVIEW WITH SCHOOL RESOURCE OFFICER GUILES:
On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate our preparedness for an intruder?
Honestly, a 5, because all of our exterior doors are unsecured, for example the cafeteria doors. Substitute teachers need to be prepared and aware of what to do. Also, law enforcement needs to have access to the building. There is no coordinating system in place that would allow officers to enter the building while administrators are walking and checking around the school. My suggestion to benefit both the school and law enforcement is to have someone pose as an intruder and create an atmosphere of a true crisis where the fire department and law enforcement would have to respond. It would allow us to practice an instant command that would teach us all, including law enforcement, how to respond.
Does the city have procedures for an intruder drill also?
The school’s job is to respond. Officers have procedures that are standard for a barricaded subject in a house, but not a building. That is why we have School Resource Officers. We are meant to coordinate with city officers. The city police do not have a plan, but the school does, and the police assist wherever needed to help implement that plan.
How would you be able to cover ground in A hall, B hall, and C hall simultaneously?
There is no way for me to do so, which is why we create a team. All administators are assigned a hall, and I go wherever I am needed. Because I am constantly walking around, students are always guessing where I am.
Do you think it is necessary for there to be more school resource officers in a big school like ours?
Absolutely. Think of it this way – there are several officers at school basketball games, so why not have them at school also?
Security should be a coordinated effort between staff, students, administrators, and custodians. It is more than just the officer’s job to make the school safe. I expect everyone to assist in making things safe.