There are many things that send students wandering aimlessly about: the search for the true meaning of life, a trip to the “bathroom” during class, the sound of the fire alarm ringing throughout the school.
The aimlessness of the first two can be solved. Students can engage in deep soul-searching or see a therapist to cure existential crises. At most point, all bathroom-bound must return to their classrooms or risk awkward conversations better suited for balding senior. (Gas-X comes highly recommended to me by teachers.)
But the huddled masses of students on the back field have no savior, antacid or otherwise.
When students hear an alarm sound, most raise their hands in celebration and shouts of joy echo throughout the school. When I hear an alarm, beads of sweat begin to run down my forehead and panic ensues. If I’m at the quad during lunch, what is the correct evacuation route? In between the gym and the photo room? Down the main hallway to the portables?
From science class, I have learned that red light corresponds to a low frequency and long wavelength, but what teacher does the red square on the tennis courts equal? What about orange? Blue?
Fire drills are not the only problematic emergency drill either. The Code Red Drill on Tuesday, November 20, came as quite the party for most of the kids in my class. We ate chocolate chip cookies and studied for math tests instead of hoisting desks; consequently, our barricade was a single desk high, and we would have been prime targets for a shooter. But don’t worry—the ants in the room were more than safe.
The point of the emergency drills is to make us (humans) feel better, feel safer. But how can this be achieved if drills exist only as mass chaos and times to play hacky-sack?
Few students know on this campus whether to meet their second or fourth period teacher on the lawn. Colors exist only as decorations on an otherwise bland chain link fence, not a way to organize classes.
If the school wants drills to be effective in dealing with emergencies and ultimately save lives, there needs to be annual instruction. Teachers should inform students of basic emergency drill procedure: how to successfully build a barricade, what period teacher they should meet on the back lawn and what purpose the colors actually serve.
And who knows? Maybe if emergency drills became efficient, students would be less inclined to pull the fire alarm when a fifth period test looms over their head.