Author Topic: Safety Drills at school. VERY SENSITIVE  (Read 7774 times)

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snappylt

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Re: Safety Drills at school. VERY SENSITIVE
« Reply #60 on: March 21, 2013, 12:56:52 AM »
From your OP I thought your son was much younger.  Honestly, 8th grade is more than old enough to be able to participate in these types of drills.  They are an unfortunate necessity and it is much better for the child to be uncomfortable for a brief drill, then be faced with an emergency and not know what to do.

If your child is having a hard time, I think it may be best to speak to a counselor and get him some help to deal with his discomfort.  Good luck.

I want him to participate, he wants to too.  He is all about safety.  There was not enough space for all the kids to hide.  That is his concern.  I want him to bring it up to an adult that there is not enough space in that area for all the kids to hide.   The drill is going to continue regardless.

Why didn't he just ask the teacher/staff that are instructing him?  Just ask right after the drill and say "I noticed there weren't enough places to hide in Room XYZ.  If we don't have a place to hide what do we do?"

Sadly, if it is a big class - say maybe choir or band or some other class that has too many kids in one room, and if the teacher is pressed for time, the teacher may not welcome spending much time on discussing the drill.

If the student is shy or reserved, or if he just plain does not want to call attention to himself because he doesn't want to become a target for insensitive comments from his classmates, he may well fear bringing up the subject next time.

(I'm trying to say I can see where this would be a problem for a soft-spoken eighth grader.)

I really liked the idea of the student politely e-mailing the teacher with the question.

JadeAngel

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Re: Safety Drills at school. VERY SENSITIVE
« Reply #61 on: March 21, 2013, 02:08:16 AM »
I think that the reality is that 8th grade classrooms and bodies combined do not provide hoding spots. They don't have bathrooms in the room, any closets certainly aren't big enough to hide an entire class. A few random kids might find some spots but that probably shouldn't be the goal. Staying away from doors/windows, staying quiet, those are key. I have been through a lot of actual lockdowns in locked  classrooms with no hiding places.

That's what the focus was in each of the drills I've gone through. Lock the doors, close the shutters on the windows, turn off the lights and remain silent and out of view of the windows and door. Not "Everyone pile into the supply closet".

Not to mention that in an actual emergency situation this kind of thing is likely to induce pandemonium. If there is an actual threat and the students are in a room where they know from previous drills that there are not enough places for everyone to hide you're going to get kids dragging other kids out of hiding places so that they can take their spots or panicking when they don't have somewhere to hide. It doesn't empower kids to work calmly and co-operatively to get themselves out of danger, it becomes survival of the fittest with the strongest kids pushing the weaker ones aside to save themselves first.

I would be discussing with the school the purpose of these drills, is it to identify weak spots in the schools emergency plan so that these can be corrected or are they trying to teach the students that not everyone is going to be safe during an emergency so they better fight hard to make sure they're not one of the students killed. The school may want to rethink the drills a little and also make the time to debrief the children on what happened during the drill.

I've put a post in the 'professional darwinism' thread about a teacher who was forced to leave a classroom full of fourteen year olds during an emergency drill and the pandemonium that ensued and in the context of a drill the story is hilarious, but if that had been a real emergency having us unsupervised like that would have been disastrous especially when we began to panic.

alis

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Re: Safety Drills at school. VERY SENSITIVE
« Reply #62 on: March 21, 2013, 07:50:50 AM »
I would speak to the school officials myself. Yes, a 13 year old is old enough for a conversation but I also think a 13 year old can be quite intimidated in such a situation and not clarify what the issue is.

I find these drills to be dreadfully inappropriate. Both my husband and I work in law enforcement and I am very familiar with the details behind these sorts of incidents and what procedures are taken (active shooter) but never would I dream to demonstrate with children a situation where they would have nowhere to hide (there is a difference between an overview with adults and children, and actual reinactments etc.). I sincerely doubt these drills were conducted with appropriate research/consultations but rather thrown together after the pandemics on TV about Sandy Hook, Batman, etc.

Even if this was appropriate (and I feel it absolutely was not) then the debriefing was also poor. Just overall haphazard inappropriate situation, IMO.

cicero

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Re: Safety Drills at school. VERY SENSITIVE
« Reply #63 on: March 21, 2013, 08:16:47 AM »
The most logical answer is for him just to say what he wants to say. 

The problem is, he will not have this class again until next week.  Once you enter your class you can ask the teacher questions about the subject you are in.  These is no talking, no discussions.  You need a special pass to see the a member of administration and must voice that reason. He doesn't want to be called out. 

I want my son to handle this.  I agree that he should.  I am asking how, with his school structure, how he can bring it up and what he can say?

Not all kids were in closets, some were lying down on the floor,  some were standing against the wall.  There was not enough space for all the kids to hide.
since you and your son obviously do understand the reason behind holding the drill, and your son *does* want to address this issue with the school but "technically" cannot (*which seems kind of ludicrous to me that the school allows a "non-curricula event" to take place during a class but then won't allow students to address that event at any other time) - I would call or email the school on his behalf.

The whole point of holding the drill is to prevent exactly what ended up happening! the whole point is to ensure the safety of *all* the children, in the deity-forbid event that something *real* will happen. And now we know that *this* drill will fail. The school has to ensure that *all* the children will be safe and you/your son need to know what they should do "in case": fall to the ground, climb out the window, etc

In a normal situation I would agree that your son should handle but since this is not possible, and since he is (understandably) freaking out, then you should.

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Twik

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Re: Safety Drills at school. VERY SENSITIVE
« Reply #64 on: March 21, 2013, 09:48:25 AM »
I think it is appropriate, even necessary, to address this from a parent's perspective with the school.

Imagine it was a fire drill, and the results were that not all students would survive a fire, under the current plan. This is frightening! The school may have learned a lot from this, but they must start to communicate what changes are being made, so that if they repeated the drill, no student would be left feeling helpless. If they're not doing that, the drill was pointless.
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Calistoga

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Re: Safety Drills at school. VERY SENSITIVE
« Reply #65 on: March 21, 2013, 09:57:28 AM »
I'm a bit taken aback by how...I dunno, casually, the school seems to be taking the fact that they held a safety drill and if there had been an actual gunman, two students would have died. And not because they didn't take the safety drill seriously, but because the classroom didn't have enough safe spots to hide from danger. That's not a laughing matter, and for the kids who get let out in the open, it's actually kind of terrifying. Like I said, it's one thing to say "Jimmy, you just died because instead of hiding under the desk you thought this was a joke and ignored your safety training." and another to say "Sorry Jimmy, you died because the school can't handle so many hiding teenagers. Better luck next time!"

Does your school have any kind of guidance counselor? Your son might want to talk to them.

I know you feel it's important for your child to handle this himself, but I assume you are also concerned about the issue, so please don't let him go it alone. This is an issue of your child's well being and safety. It's unlikely that the school will take a 14 year old as seriously as a parent.

Dr. F.

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Re: Safety Drills at school. VERY SENSITIVE
« Reply #66 on: March 21, 2013, 10:19:08 AM »
I think that the reality is that 8th grade classrooms and bodies combined do not provide hoding spots. They don't have bathrooms in the room, any closets certainly aren't big enough to hide an entire class. A few random kids might find some spots but that probably shouldn't be the goal. Staying away from doors/windows, staying quiet, those are key. I have been through a lot of actual lockdowns in locked  classrooms with no hiding places.

That's what the focus was in each of the drills I've gone through. Lock the doors, close the shutters on the windows, turn off the lights and remain silent and out of view of the windows and door. Not "Everyone pile into the supply closet".

Not to mention that in an actual emergency situation this kind of thing is likely to induce pandemonium. If there is an actual threat and the students are in a room where they know from previous drills that there are not enough places for everyone to hide you're going to get kids dragging other kids out of hiding places so that they can take their spots or panicking when they don't have somewhere to hide. It doesn't empower kids to work calmly and co-operatively to get themselves out of danger, it becomes survival of the fittest with the strongest kids pushing the weaker ones aside to save themselves first.


This. The way this drill was conducted would lead to sheer pandemonium in an actual emergency unless they change the way they're doing things as a result of this test. It seems counter-productive unless they're trying for some unknown reason to promote a Lord of the Flies type situation among the students.

Personally, I would address this myself, not leave it to an 8th grader. The school has demonstrated that it can't guarantee his safety, and I would want to know what they're planning on doing about that.

Kaire

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Re: Safety Drills at school. VERY SENSITIVE
« Reply #67 on: March 21, 2013, 10:46:33 AM »
I'm speaking from personal experience.  I work at a state university that unfortunately has had this happen.  It wasn't in my building, but at the time it was thought the shooter had entered where I work.

This stuff was not part of the world I grew up it.  It didn't happen.  We were clueless how to act, where to go, what to do, etc.  We drew the drapes and hid behind cement pillars (those who could.)  Some of us did pretty good, stayed level headed, and were able to listen to directions.  Others completely melted down and had to be physically pushed in the directions we needed to go.  Being escorted out of our building by swat members left some people frozen in place, while some broke into sprints, just rushing away.

When I think back on the time I realize how deep in shock we all were.  There is no good way to cover all the basis on what might happen, but you do react better when you aren't so stunned.

I think what would be good for your son to ask is "what should I have done?"  I would suggest explaining the classroom situation, how everyone reacted, and how he reacted and ask what they suggest.  I would think if he was asking this as a serious, legitimate question he should be addressed because that's what matters -- what he should have done.

In the days that followed what happened to us we did ask that ... what should we have done?  We have a ton of store rooms and places to hide, yet we were all gathered in a rather open space surrounded by glass, attempting to hid behind pillars.  We were literally clueless, sitting ducks. 

I know we all have our own plans of actions now, but sadly we learned from real life.  Is it likely to happen again?  Odds are no, but I would have said that if you'd asked me if it would have happened in the first place.

Wordgeek

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Re: Safety Drills at school. VERY SENSITIVE
« Reply #68 on: March 21, 2013, 11:23:38 AM »
Since people are unwilling to follow forum guidelines (i.e. stay on topic), the thread is closed.