Substitutes and teachers talk about drills

Beeeeeeeep, Beeeeeeeeeep, Beeeeeeeeeeep.

As the alarms go off, students, teachers and staff scurry out of the buildings and get to a safe distance.

While this was only a drill, there was still a class inside because they had a substitute teacher who had not been properly prepared for such a happening, Maybe there were even some students who were out doing something for a teacher when the drill happened, and they hadn’t yet been told what to do.

While this is only hypothetical, it could happen.

The drills are in place so that everybody does know what to do, and it’s the law. What about the substitutes who are not here every day and might not know what to do? Are the drills preparing substitutes like they are everyone else?

“Subs are fairly well prepared, especially since there are experienced teachers to help, and they are very simple,” substitute Melvin Jones said.

Substitutes get a packet at the beginning of the year with information about that year of school — for example, rules, disciplinary action and what to do.

“Maybe, in the packet of papers, there could be a paper about the various drills and what the alarm is and what to do about it,” Jones said.

This semester, there was some confusion about the difference between a lockdown and an intruder emergency, according to math teacher Heather Allen.

“There needs to be better separation in the difference between lockdown and intruder alerts,” Allen said.

When a lockdown happens the doors will all be locked, blinds shut and class will go on as usual. A lockdown is if something happened in the community, such as a murder or domestic violence. In a lockdown, a member of the office staff will come over the intercom and say “lockdown.”

An intruder drill simulates a situation where there is an armed individual on campus wanting to do harm. In that case, all doors are locked and lights are turned off. Also, students all move to one corner of the room and remain completely quiet and act as if they are not there.

“I feel that students are fairly prepared for the drills,” Jones said. “Students do what they are told most of the time [during drills].”

Severe storms are a common occurrence in southwestern Oklahoma, so schools and their substitutes need to be prepared for them.

“I do not feel that we have adequate facilities for tornados or severe storms,” Allen said.

There was a citywide bond issue to build more storm shelters at the high school, but it did not pass. There was another bond to get protective gear like helmets for all the students. That bond did pass so that in-case of severe storms students will have some protective gear to help.