Durham- “For the purpose of what we were asking, it went really well,” said Suzanne Filippone, principal of ORHS, describing the ALICE drill.
During the advisory period on September 12, 2017, an air horn was blown at 1:06 pm to initiate the beginning of the newly implemented ALICE drill. The drill was intended for teachers to practice making the decision to hide or flee. In some aspects the drill was a success, but there are improvements to be made.
The “threats within the school,” which were represented by the air horn, came from the second floor science wing. If a class decided to stay, they went into lockdown. If they left, they exited via the closest door and quickly walked to the middle school to safely move away from the threat. According to FIlippone, one classroom on the first floor decided to exit the building from their window.
Andrew Hodge (‘18) said the drill felt chaotic as walking to and from the middle school was disorganized. Kids were walking in the road instead of using the sidewalk. Hodge felt that the drill was not as safe as the usual lockdown drill. “It was definitely worse; we would have been an easier target since we were all together.” The situation itself seemed more relaxed since much of the student body had known when the drill was going to take place. In a real situation, students and staff would not just walk away from the danger, but run from the danger.
Due to the fact that the students were already with their advisories, the drill wasn’t entirely realistic. Wendy Gibson, a Spanish teacher at ORHS, believes the drill should be done during a class other than advisory. “It’s important we do it in a class that is not advisory to get a real feel of what would happen.” That “real feel” would be in a regular class period.
The freshman class had no experience with ALICE drills and their protocol last year. Adam Collins (‘21) thought the drill went well. “We all followed each other to the same place. No one got hurt.” One aspect he said he would change about the drill would be to assign other exits so everyone is not using the same few exits. Since everyone who left went out the same doors it caused a build up of people. With more exits, people could get away from the school much faster.
According to Filippone, a change that may be made the next time the drill is initiated is to move the threat throughout the building. This would allow other classrooms to get to safety as the threat moved through the school. Moving the threat would also make the drill seem more realistic as a threat would not stand stagnant in a situation like that.
As of now there is no concrete date for the next drill.
Written by Hunter Madore