Emergency Situations in Schools – Yes

Emergency evacuation plans should be posted and practiced in all schools.

Why should they be posted? Imagine this – You are visiting your child’s school for a fun parent lunch. A fire alarm goes off. What do you do? Of course, we all know that as parents, we will not panic. Right? If the classroom is in a public school, there should be an evacuation route posted near the door of the classroom. Or maybe you are a guest speaker in a classroom. You have gone to share your wisdom of how math is used every, single day in your career. After presenting your speech to 3 class periods, the principal comes over the intercom, “Attention teachers and students. We are now in a lock-down. Please follow all lock-down procedures.” What is a lock-down? What do I need to do with all these kids? Please tell me this isn’t a substitute teacher in here with me. If the school is a public one, I hope the lock-down procedures are posted somewhere.

Why should they be practiced? In the above situation, the students are key. They should have practiced a fire drill at least once a month. They should be trained exactly what to do and where to go. They should act without thinking about it. If they have never heard the fire alarms, or gone through the motions, they will panic. It will be just like trying to herd some cats. (Ever try that? It’s not fun!) All those little 5-year-old children crying and wondering where to go. Their teacher should have gone through this procedure and should be calm. The students are feeding off that teacher. The same goes in a lock-down. The students should know what that means. They should know where to go in the classroom and how to handle the situation. They should have gone through this drill at least once a semester. (Hopefully more) Lock-downs are very serious. They should know the procedures without over-reacting. The teacher should also know exactly what to do.

In both of these situations, you could easily see how if they are not posted and practiced things could really get out of hand. The schools are responsible for all of the students, as well as any adults that might be on campus at the time of an event. These are very serious and could be disaster if not handle properly.