Crisis drills to be held unannounced

Change will mimic real emergency situations.

Lauren Grimaldi

Lauren Grimaldi, News Editor

School safety is always a concern that needs to be managed and Assistant Principal John Passarella is helping change how crisis drills are handled this year. In the past, teachers were informed of a date and time that drills would take place.  Now, they will be unannounced and will occur at less opportune times in the school day.

“ [The drills] are a way to strengthen our knowledge base on how to react to situations we might be faced with,” Passarella said.

The first of these many surprise drills was held on August 30th. It was fire drill.  Teachers knew a drill would occur and had received a laminated “cheat sheet” about how to respond to all types of crisis drills, but they did not know where or when the drill would happen.  Passarella had even indicated that drills might occur during passing periods, during lunch periods, or even just before the start of school.  Still, the first drill, which happened during afternoon classes, went well.

“I think fire drills are sort of embedded into our daily diet as educators,” Passarella said. “It went as well as I had anticipated.”

“The idea for the new drill policy came from a conference seminar speaker  that took place last spring,” said Assistant Dean Neil Dughetti. “[The speaker]  showed that surprising students will really help figure out where we need to improve.”

Instead of having everything happening routinely, unannounced drills mimic reality.  “What we’re trying to do is basically prepare for things that actually could happen,” Dughetti said.

This new policy will carry on throughout the year and the security team and administration hope to practice each kind of drill.

“We’re going to try and expose our staff with an intruder drill,” Passarella said.

The intruder drill seems like it could be the hardest to manage of the three main types of drills, especially if they are unannounced.

By this the administration is hoping to have the drills occur when students are not nesscessarily in class with a teacher, and thus when they  are the most vulnerable to potential dangerous situations.

Passarella sees the new style of drill as a positive rather than an inconvenience.  “Inopportunie is a relative term,” Passarella said, “I think they are opportune times.”

While Passarella did not say what kind of drill the next one will be, he hopes it helps the student body and staff realize that these drills are designed to make the school as safe as possible.