Students discuss effectiveness of saftey drillls

All+emergency+codes+have+changed+to+standard+response+protocol+%28plain+language%29+and+is+now+required+by+the+federal+government+and+the+MSD+commission+, a foundation meant to keep schools and communities safe

All emergency codes have changed to standard response protocol (plain language) and is now required by the federal government and the MSD commission

School shootings in the United States have been on a steady rise with more mass shootings happening each year. In response to increased school shootings, many public K-12 across the U.S. schools have made measures to tighten security and hire law enforcement officers to patrol schools. In addition to all these measures, schools across the U.S. conduct lockdown drills to prepare for the event there’s an intruder on campus. These aren’t the only measures being taken, precautions are made constantly to increase safety at schools, but if these actions are enough and effective is still a question.

Since elementary days students across the country have been programmed to act without a second thought if a code red or yellow was announced. This ordinary experience is primarily coined by the U.S. and although it seems like a good thing, it’s just a reminder of the sad reality of school students. Compared to other countries around the world, it’s an unfortunate truth how practicing lockdown drills have become a normal practice for U.S. students yet an abnormality for other students.

“This stuff shouldn’t happen in America but it does; it shouldn’t happen anywhere yet it does in America and it’s wrong that students have to go through that type of trauma and worry,” sophomore Priyanka Mallysetty said.

School shootings are nothing new and have been an ongoing problem in the U.S., but they’ve been on a steady rise in the passing years. To combat it, school drills are usually performed monthly throughout the school year, and with such repetition, the effects on students could seem like a concern, but to most students it isn’t.

“I feel fine about participating with drills on campus because I know they help us simulate in case there was an emergency, like we know what to do in each classroom,” junior Devina Tikkoo said.

Some students think that performing drills is important in ensuring safety at school and keeping students organized, especially because if there were no drills no one would know what to do.

“I think it could be important so people don’t run around scrambling but at the same time [if there was a shooter they’d most likely go to this school] so they’ll probably know exactly what we’re doing and where we are but in general it’s important,” Mallysetty said.

Tikkoo also added if there were to be an emergency on campus she would go with her instinct, but in the classroom she would know what to do because of past preparation. There wouldn’t be chaos or confusion and everyone wouldn’t panic as much even if the situation wasn’t necessarily safe.

Starting this school year, Broward County schools changed the color codes red, green, and yellow to secure, hold, and lockdown. This change to plain language was something many students weren’t aware of at the beginning of the year and it caused confusion when the school had to go on secure at the start of the school year. While staff received training on the change, Mallsetty thought a formal effort to educate students would make things clearer. 

“I feel as if they [administration] should’ve told people [the code changed], so when they say secure no one’s going to be like ‘what’ because they don’t know what secure means,” Mallsetty said.

Junior Isabella Munoz said that the code is a little more complicated now especially since no one’s used to the new changes. She thinks the old codes were better because we’ve been practicing the same thing for years and then it’s suddenly changed which just causes confusion and leads to more problems.

All color codes used in BCPS were eliminated and changed to plain codes to make sure all internal and external between emergency responders are understood.

“I feel like it’s not effective and the old ones were better purley because they were standardized throughout the country so when you’ve had it for years and you immediately change it is so confusing,” Tikkoo said.

When the school went on secure in September this year, many students reported that they would’ve been prepared if the code names weren’t changed, but since they were, some students were just confused. 

With the prevalance of mass shootings, many students just don’t feel safe in school despite precautions set in place for emergencies.

“We need metal detectors at all the entrances to the schools and more security guards because you never know when someone’s going to randomly pop up with something,” Munoz said.

Tikkoo mentioned if the school were to use metal detectors more often and so forth she’d feel safer, but at the same time she doesn’t feel safe in some areas of the school where people aren’t doing what they’re supposed to.

It’s a cold reality many students have to experience because even with all measures put in place, nowhere is entirely safe.

“You don’t feel 100 percent safe at school because this stuff shouldn’t happen anywhere. If we were to put more money into security and make sure everyone’s mental health is in check it would make the school safer,” Mallsetty said.

There’s only so much we can do but remain hopeful for the future and hope for change, but as of now all we can do is continue taking the necessary steps to keep ourselves safe and prepare for anything to happen.