It could happen here: Intruder drills don’t prepare us for increasingly plausible situations (Editorial)


Cameron Fritz

No one wants to think about the feasibility of a school shooting at CHS. But if one were to happen, would students know how to respond?

It may feel like school shootings are a faraway danger, but according to the Everytown Gun Safety Support Group there have been over 240 school shootings in the United States alone since 2013. Most of these shootings took place in parking lots, cafeterias, and gymnasiums, and an even higher percentage of these were performed by students. Here’s the troubling part: Carlisle High School does not have drills for these occasions.

Although it is not required by the state, CHS goes into lock down twice a year, with the shades drawn, the lights off, and the doors locked while they sit against the wall. These drills are always kicked off with the signature phrase over the PA system, “Teachers, there is an intruder in the building. Please secure your classrooms.” However, these hypothetical shooters are often not intruders, but students.

Another concerning aspect of these drills is that they only simulate the event of a shooter in the hallway and students in class. It is becoming increasingly likely that if an attack were to happen, it will take place in the cafeteria, the parking lot, and even the library. Which brings up an important question: why doesn’t the school stage drills in any of these places? The way things are now, a gun pulled anywhere other than the hallway would, in CHS’s situation, result in disorderly chaos.

At first glance, the solution seems to be varying the locations of these drills. However, with the sheer number of students at CHS and the fact that no one can determine where any given student would be in the unpredictable event of a shooting, it would be extremely difficult to organize a drill of such proportions that would actually be productive. Also, if a student is the attacker, then they will not likely be fooled by the dark, locked classrooms they’ve been familiarized with from participating in drills past.

So the answer may not be in learning drills for every possible situation, but instead teaching students to leave the building. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security says that the number one thing to do in the event of a shooting is evacuate, by any means possible.

This is not to say that administration is not being pro-active.

In an interview with high school principal Jay Rauscher, he said that teachers around the district were already undergoing new training. Teachers are now learning to analyze and adapt to their situations, instead of blindly hiding in a corner and being, as he put it, “sitting ducks.” However, this training has not yet been passed along to students.

It’s comforting to believe that a school shooting wouldn’t occur at CHS, and that may very well be true. But in order to protect students and staff and ensure that CHS is as safe and prepared as possible, the drill system should be revised. As much as we don’t want to admit it, it could happen here.


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Disclaimer: Articles designated as “Editorial” represent the views and opinions of the author, not the 2017-2018 Periscope staff, CHS Administration, or the CHS student body.