An ounce of prevention

District holds shooting drills on campus

An ounce of prevention

In the week before school started, the district paired up with the Southlake police department and held official shooting drills to train the faculty and administration what they should do in the event of an actual shooting. The drills mimicked a real life shooting, as police were involved, and blanks were fired to simulate gunshots.

In addition to this, audio was played over the speakers in an attempt to evoke the anxiety and panic one would feel in an actual shooting situation.

“They played audio from the Parkland shooting over the speakers and you got to hear in real time how long it took people to get there and to start acting,” government teacher Cathy Moore said. “One of the main things I kept focusing on was the question of if I’m a caller, what do I do?  The question becomes how do you communicate efficiently in this situation.”

During the simulation, the faculty and administration volunteered to portray different people involved in a shooting. Moore volunteered to portray one of the victims, while vice principal Paul Pinson volunteered to act as the shooter. 

“I want to do everything I can to ensure that the experience is meaningful and I wanted to contribute to the process,” Pinson said. “Preparedness is always the responsibility of those who have a position where they oversee the safety of others, in order to take care of them and ensure their safety.”

Several teachers were overcome with emotion during the drills due to how realistic they were. However, Moore explained that the authenticity of the drills made her respond the opposite way. 

“Because I’m a parent I know that when there are 30 of you in here, I cannot panic. I can panic later, but in the moment I know I have to stay calm and collected,” Moore said. “At some point, the urgency grows and when you know you have students you’re in charge of, that fight or flight just kicks in.”

Southlake’s chapter of Students Demand Action is lead by senior, Ade Osadolor. SDA works to influence lawmakers to pass bills and regulations, implement universal background checks, teach people about safe firearm storage, and enforce red flag laws. 

“I personally feel like gun violence is one of the worst issues that the US faces in today’s society,” Osadolor said. “I feel strongly about this issue, because it is not okay to have more mass shootings than days in this year alone, because it is not okay to have 100 people die every single day due to daily gun violence.”

Osadolor was glad to see the district taking a stand against gun violence and agrees with the efforts and regulations being enforced this year.

“I think CISD took a major step for the prevention of gun violence by training teachers about what to do if a school shooting were to happen,” Osadolor said. “They did a great job by not permitting doordash, Uber eats, and other food services from delivering to school. They’re also working on preventing this issue by telling teachers and students not to open the doors for strangers or anyone, which is essential to preventing a shooting from happening.”

Other students have recognized the efforts of the community to make sure that going to school continues to be a safe place.

“I’m not really scared to go to school because I don’t think that a shooting will happen,” senior Nate Lannen said. “But it does make me feel safe knowing the school is taking precautions and that they know how to handle that type of situation if it did happen. It’s better to be prepared for that kind of thing.”

Since the drills, many teachers are behaving more cautiously to ensure that if a situation like this were to ever actually happen, they’re prepared.

“In the Parkland shooting video a teacher spoke about how when he heard the gunshots he ran towards the hallway but as he ran out the door close behind him and locked,” Moore said. “So now I constantly carry my room key on my lanyard so if it ever happens I’m capable of getting out into the hallway and helping herd kids into my room to keep them safe without the door locking behind me.”

While Moore focused on how to aid the students during the event of a shooting, Pinson said the shooting drill pushed him to be proactive in ensuring the school’s safety. 

“I’ve had all of the internal locks looked at and even if they locked, we had to make sure that they were locked securely, just in case. We check our outer doors consistently.” Pinson said. “The drill gave us a moment to understand the importance of maintaining security.”

As mass shootings continue, more and more schools are stepping up and taking preventative measures to protect the lives of their students. These drills have enabled Carroll to be overly prepared in the event of a shooting, by not only giving admin to opportunity to make physical reinforcements, but by allowing individual teachers to establish their own plans of action in the event of such a tragedy. 

“It’s like driving, we drive every day, but most accidents happen in a short radius from our home, and I think it’s because we let our guard down,” Pinson said. “Having training like this, it heightens our sense of awareness, because without it, we can become complacent in terms of maintaining that vigilance. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”