Sound the Alarm: Lack of balance in emergency drills calls for urgent changes

Charlotte Rooney, Opinion Editor

You’re sitting in class taking notes. Maybe you’re talking to a friend, or your teacher is lecturing. Suddenly, you hear the shrill sound of the fire alarm, and your class is directed out of the building.

The state of Kansas mandates that schools have one fire drill each month school is in session, according to the Kansas Building Fire Safety Handbook. I am in no way questioning the need for fire drills, but due to their frequency, I’m slowly packing up my backpack and checking my phone before I even think about the safety procedure.

In other news, there have been 87 school shootings since Sandy Hook, according to NBC News as of December 5. I have never once worried about my school burning down, but school shootings have been on my mind because of how often they occur.

I could go on about how I shouldn’t even have to think about my safety while at school, but the reality is, I see school violence on the news constantly. It’s a prevalent issue, and after these events happen, the media talk about it for a couple weeks, and then the topic disappears.

Honestly, I don’t question my safety when walking into school, and I love coming to school. But on the other hand, there is nothing wrong with being prepared.

Schools in the BV District are required to perform at least two code red drills per year. BV only does the minimum — one for each semester, according to BV School District Police Supervisor Sergeant Micky Medellin.

The most I’ve ever done for a lockdown drill is have a teacher lock the door, but if I were sitting in the lunchroom and a peer fired a gun, I wouldn’t know where to go or what to do. The lockdown drills that BV rarely practices are only for one out of many different situations that could happen.

BV students are unprepared for an actual threat.

Teachers rarely talk about school shootings or what we would do if it ever really happened. Instead, I hear on the news at least once a month — if not more — about school shootings, but we rarely have drills.

Medellin said he would like to see everyone gain confidence from having more discussions about school safety.

“I do think students and teachers should have more conversations about what would happen in a dangerous situation,” he said.

I think more conversations are needed, but just because we live in Johnson County doesn’t mean that we are any less likely to experience school violence. Sandy Hook Elementary is in an upscale neighborhood, and they certainly didn’t expect an act of violence to happen to them.

Instead of learning from these events, we seem to be almost ignoring them and not taking any knowledge from them.

I’m hoping that BV will have more lockdown drills in the future. Schools should realize more drills are needed, so we can prepared if any threatening events happen and give students a peace of mind.