By Anna Sandri
On April 25, Batavia High School students and teachers practiced a variety of lockdown drills to prepare for an active shooter situation. These drills were a major update to the previous hard lockdown drills where teachers would lock the doors, turn out the lights, and have students huddle close to the wall so they wouldn’t be visible to the intruder. With the rising concerns of student security since the deadly shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School, teachers and staff have come together to discuss ways that they could ensure proper safety of students here at BHS.
The new drills provide students and teachers with a description of the shooter, where the shooter was last seen and where they are predicted to go. With this announcement, students and teachers then discuss what actions they should take to best protect themselves. These options are to run, hide, or fight as a last resort. To run, the teacher will tell you which exit to run for based on the shooter’s location. Students will flee the opposite way from the shooter and towards police or S.W.A.T.
Hiding is similar to the old procedures; teachers will lock the classroom doors and students will assist in barricading the door to prevent someone from entering. Students are instructed to use chairs, tables, and any other objects that can block the door. In the meantime, other students spread out and contribute to the escape by breaking windows to open up an escape route. The very last option that students and teachers have is to fight. Anything in the room that can be used as a weapon should be used.
“At the end of the day both teachers and students are their own individual person, and the whole idea of the run, hide, fight is to give each individual person the ability to make decisions on their own,” said David Andrews, the athletic director and associate principal for operations. “That’s the whole idea behind the philosophy of run, hide, fight. It all has to be within reason and common sense though obviously.”
With the new drills first introduced just recently, it leaves students wondering how often they will take place.
“We don’t have any set plans for it, but we have had some loose talks in our district safety committee meetings,” Andrews said. “You may have heard a lot in the news, and when I say news I mean it’s been communicated to the parents and the students. We have a district safety committee meeting that we have always had, and in those meetings we’ve talked about doing it once a semester.”
According to Andrews, these new drills have gotten positive feedback overall.
“We sent out a google form to the teachers to get their feedback about the drills, and in general they were positive,” Andrews said. “I actually got a lot of informal responses from parents and students saying I’m glad we did that. And obviously it’s time with everything going on with the country. In general it was a very positive experience. And with that it also brings more questions.”
After each drill concluded, students often asked what else the school is going to do for security.
“We are reviewing those procedures currently,” Andrews said. “In the Wilson Street student entrance we lock those doors down during the school day and require students to check in and out with the staff that are down there, and then you get buzzed in through the doors. We are looking at adding security cameras, well, more security cameras around the building specifically at those entrances. Everything is in review right now as far as more security goes.”
Despite it being in review, students and parents can rest easy knowing that the school will do anything they possibly can to ensure that each and every student is safe.
“Any adult, you can talk to any adult in the building,” Andrews said. “Most of the questions would either be directed to myself or Officer Howe since we set up that district safety committee. But really I think nowadays since the shooting in Parkland, that communication has definitely become more fluid, we’re taking input, we’re more proactive with the drills, so now is definitely the time if you have questions, comments, or concerns to find an adult. Ask them the question and if they can’t answer it, they will direct you to the right person.”
Batavia High School will take some great strides when it comes to ensuring the best for each and every student. Students should no longer have to worry about their safety in school, and the staff at BHS will make sure that each day runs smooth.