WCHS administration discusses emergency safety drills

Taelor Engle
Opinion Editor

There are dangers all around the world; unfortunately, school shootings are taking place in the US and WCHS is taking action. The importance of safety is stressed among people of all ages, especially in schools. In Parkland, Florida, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High school experienced a school shooting on February 14, 2018. They lost 17 lives and an additional 17 people were injured. This event was one of the world’s deadliest school shootings in history, and WCHS staff doesn’t want to be next.

Recently, WCHS has taken more precautions by adding more police officers around the buildings the entire school day and they’ve also cut off a few of the doors students have been using to get in and out of the building. The doors that are unavailable for non-emergency uses now have alarms on them.

WCHS Dean of students Dave Bechinski explained the purpose behind locking a few of the doors and how this will keep students and staff safe.

“The reason we put alarms on the doors is to deter people from using them for non-emergency purposes,…this ensures the doors stay shut creating a more secure environment for our building. Not using Door 2 allows us to control the flow of students during passing periods… when kids went out Door 2, they were in an area (between Door 2 and teepee doors) where supervision by [a student resource officer] was not available. With us directing all kids out doors that feed directly into a transition area allows for school admin and security to be on sight immediately should an emergency take place,” Bechinski said.

There are exit routes in almost every corner of both buildings and some students don’t always know where those are. When there’s an emergency situation, it makes it all the more difficult to figure out where to go since everyone is in panic mode, they’re not thinking clearly, and they’re just trying to get to safety. CPCSC Superintendent Dr. Patrick Spray discussed the importance of practicing these drills and how they’re meant to keep students and staff safe during any number of situations.

“When you take a look at the drills, students would have to think about ‘Oh okay, I’m going to be in different places in this building throughout the day’ so it’s important to keep in mind what those exit routes might be in a particular emergency. Teachers are leaders and since they’re stationary in one classroom, they would lead that class, the teacher’s going to know exactly where to go, what to do in a situation. We stress the emphasis with our teachers that you got to be the leader, the person to make sure everyone is safe, including yourself,” Spray said.

School safety drills can help prepare students in many ways. It helps them to not panic and hesitate when a serious situation occurs. Hesitation makes situations more difficult because no one knows exactly what to do in that moment of time and they become conflicted.

WCHS sophomore Katelyn Basham explained how she feels safe in school because of these drills.

“They are actually effective because if we didn’t have them, I would be so lost. I wouldn’t know where to go or what to do or who to follow. I would just be so confused if we did not have them; it’s to help kids that are like me, if there’s somebody who’s confused and they don’t know what they’re doing, then they need to know in case there’s something like that that actually happens,” Basham said.

These drills are there for the preparation and guidance of students and staff in the building. Whiteland police officer Tyler Croy explained how practicing the drills is beneficial to everyone in the building.

“Colonel Dave Grossman said it best, ‘The body will not go where the mind has not been’ so if we’re not practicing these things. If we’re not rehearsing these things, when it comes time to actually doing it, we’re going to freeze,” Croy said. “We’re not gonna know what’s going to happen; the more we keep doing these drills, the more repetition of these drills we drill into your guys heads, that way when something does happen, there’s no questioning it, there’s no ‘Oh my gosh, what do I do, what do I do?’ You’ve done it enough times to realize that ‘This is what I need to do, here’s how I’m going to get it done,”

The school cares about everyone’s safety and takes these precautions for the benefit of WCHS students and staff. These precautions are meant to keep everyone more safe while they’re here. Safety is very important in everyday lives because anything could happen at any moment or place.

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