HC and Fayette County should implement better and more thorough drills


Eli Dyer

After the rampant rise in school shootings, safety should be a higher priority than ever. However, that’s not what I’m seeing, at least in my experience. Though drills are helpful and should regularly be practiced, the lackadaisical approach we continuously take harms us. A shooter will not enter the building when it’s most convenient for us, so we shouldn’t practice that way. We need to expand the variety of drills we conduct, because what we have isn’t cutting it.

At no point during my three years at HC, or at any time in my tenure at public school, have I felt any more prepared for a possible attack or any other situation after participating in a lockdown drill, and many of my peers feel similarly. Generally, we make light of lockdowns and other drills, but perhaps doing the difficult thing now will result in our future safety.

There is also a disturbing lack of communication concerning what the students should do in the event of an intruder on campus. What should we do if someone enters the building during a class change? What should we do if we’re in the cafeteria during a lockdown? These are questions that need to be addressed by the administrators. If HC is unfortunate enough to be the victim of a school shooting, the students, and even the staff, are woefully unprepared to respond.

Simply put, the lockdown drills we currently use to practice for a shooting are inadequate. Although these practices are all well and good, are we practicing the right thing? Should we not have a variety of drills to prepare us for a variety of situations? I am concerned that students will be helpless in the face of a shooter. In order to combat that helplessness we should “practice like we play,” with drills that cover a variety of scenarios. These drills could occur during class change, lunch, before school, after school, or essentially any time we don’t already drill during.

In addition to the failure of the school system to prepare us for lockdowns, we are largely unprepared to cope with any serious issue. For example, there are next to no provisions for an actual evacuation. Though we are somewhat prepared for a fire, we have not been prepared for any other type of evacuation. Where do we go in the event of a gas leak? How far should we go? In any situation that we have not explicitly practiced (of which there are many), I anticipate mass chaos, leading to difficulty in exiting the building and danger.

In order to combat that unpreparedness, more extensive drills should be conducted with more frequency. In addition to those drills, discussions should be held in every class concerning what to do in an emergency. We need to be prepared for whatever may come, no matter how unlikely. As the saying goes: better safe than sorry.