Improvements made in Code Red drill

January 28, 2014 — by Bruce Lou and Arman Vaziri

On a sunny morning on November 18, the bell sounded after second period — but this was no ordinary bell. Instead of the usual long burst of sound, this bell sounded several short honks, accompanied by an announcement for students to get in the nearest classroom. The bell started the annual Code Red drill.

On a sunny morning on November 18, the bell sounded after second period — but this was no ordinary bell. Instead of the usual long burst of sound, this bell sounded several short honks, accompanied by an announcement for students to get in the nearest classroom. The bell started the annual Code Red drill.

“This year’s students did get into classrooms much quicker than last year’s [students],” assistant principal Kevin Mount said. “I think that is because this year we kept it a better secret. I don’t think many people knew it was coming.”

According to Mount, the biggest problem facing the school during a Code Red drill is students scrambling to find a “good”
room.

“Students hang around and try to get into a room with their friends,” Mount said. “When [students] hear that alarm, [they’re] supposed to get inside the closest room.”

Mount, with the local sheriff’s department, checked each classroom to see how well-fortified it was.

“What we usually do is we go around to each classroom and we rate each classroom by several criteria, such as by is the doors are locked, if the class is quiet and if they covered windows,” Mount said.

In addition to building barricades and locking doors, classrooms are equipped with auxiliary clamps to further secure the entrances. However, many teachers had trouble using them.

“We have some secondary hardware which we’re going to change, but for now, we have what we have,” Mount said. “Some teachers don’t do a good job managing [the clamps]. They’re a little complicated.”

According to Mount, the cafeteria has been the most difficult room to make safe.

“The problem is that even if we have a secondary system for locking [the cafeteria], who is responsible for doing it? Do we ask the ladies in the cafeteria to take the extra time to run out and lock the door when there is an intruder who may do harm?” Mount said.

Though Mount has tried to address the problem, it has been difficult to solve.

“I have talked to law enforcement several times about the cafeteria and there’s just no good cover-up,” Mount said. “There’s a lot of glass and the doors are always unlocked all day and they’re hard to lock. Part of the problem is that we need to upgrade the doors [and] modernize them.”

Many students such as junior Jimmy Xiao, who took refuge in room 1014, felt that the drill prepared them satisfactorily for any threat on campus

“The procedures appeared adequate to me,” Xiao said. “That door barricade would be hard to get through, and there are enough objects to serve as weapons if self-defense is needed.”

Mount said that the drills are essential for keeping the campus safe.

“The drills are important and we really appreciate it when the students take them seriously,” Mount said. “I don’t believe that anything will happen here, but to have good preparation just makes good sense.”

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