Arrowhead High School Students Participated In School Violence Drill

Maria Francis, Reporter

On Wednesday, October 24th, Arrowhead administrators held a School Violence Drill. To accommodate the drill, there was an adjusted schedule with an extended second period.

In the extended second period, students watched a video called “Run, Hide, Fight” to inform them of how to deal with an intruder situation.

Afterwards, students discussed which technique they would choose if the intruder were nearing the classroom they were in.

The video was also shown last April to all students. It was also played in August to the Freshman Class during Wings Orientation.

“I thought it was good to make kids aware and prepared for what could happen, but things like this are unpredictable and will not, unfortunately, work out as planned or as organized,” said Ryan Ferch, an Arrowhead senior.

Students and their second period teacher had a discussion after the video and then an announcement was made letting students and staff know where the fictitious intruder entered the building.

Students and the teacher decided which technique to use: run, hide, fight.

At the end, an announcement was made, ending the drill.

Teachers and students briefly talked about the drill and what changes could have been made.

Arrowhead’s school resource officer, Deputy Freyer, as well as other administrators, walked around the building, checking on classrooms, talking with teachers and students on their decision.

Parents received advance notice about the intruder drill.

“You can speak with your parent, teacher(s), counselor, me or Ms. Paradowski. Thank you in advance for your cooperation with this important event,” said Gordon in an email to students prior to the drill.

Arrowhead superintendent, Laura Myrah, stated in an email to parents how school safety drills, fire drills, tornado drills, and lock and  secure exercises are a regular practice at Arrowhead.

Myrah, said under a new law, s.118.07(4)(cp), that schools are required to practice an annual school violence drill before January 1, 2019.

“In the event of an actual violent intruder crisis, students and staff could flee to rally points (4-5 nearby locations) where police would meet them. Because campus would be off limits for at least the remainder of that crisis day, buses would pick up people at the rally points to transport to a larger reunification site, where students would be dismissed to parents. None of these off-campus locations will be divulged in advance, for security purposes. If students were to flee campus to their own homes or that of friends, there would be an emergency phone number or email address to contact in order to alert school and emergency response personnel that they are safe at home,” said Myrah in the email.

“We recommend talking with your child(ren) about this school violence drill. The students will be told during the lesson/drill if they (or you) have any questions, feel free to contact Deputy Freyer, Principal Mr. Wieczorek, Associate Principal Ms. Paradowski, Associate Principal Ms. Gordon, or Superintendent Ms. Myrah. We hope no emergency event happens in our future, but we thank you in advance for your cooperation if it does. I’m sure we all agree the top priority remains a safe, positive, production learning environment for our students and staff,” said Myrah in an email sent to parents and guardians.

“I think the intruder drill was very unrealistic and students did not take it seriously enough. I wouldn’t necessarily change anything but maybe just enforce the severity of the situation. When we see these tragedies, we aren’t thinking that it could’ve been us. When we witnessed Parkland, it was scary but we don’t know exactly how scary [until] we are put into a fight or flight situation. I can’t judge [the drill] too harshly because it was just a test to see what they should change. But in all honesty, you can try and prepare anyone for a situation like this and it wouldn’t matter. If there was ever a shooting at Arrowhead, all training and preparation would go out the window. Human instinct would take over. The intruder drill can guide us, but what we really need to focus on is making sure a kid doesn’t decide…[to] shoot up a school,” said Lia Jablonski, an Arrowhead senior.