District Should Offer More Student Drills for Active Shooters

Ryan Olarte, Writer

Throughout the last year, the district and school administration worked on preparing our school for a very serious and relevant scenario, a school shooter. Though the district made it clear how far the schools and teachers are preparing for an intruder, students seem to be lacking information crucial for their safety. 

For the last year, many teachers openly discussed ways to stay safe when there is an intruder on campus. 

Earlier this year, a majority of teachers shared their experiences involved with their active shooter training at Peninsula High School. Though the experience would be similar, the campuses differ in many ways. The way certain situations are handled may differ from situations PVHS may face. 

At the beginning of this year, the Palos Verdes Estates Police Department chief of police spoke to each grade level when he informed students that the police response time to PVHS in an emergency is less than four minutes. 

Practicing for these events, like fire or other emergency drills, could better prepare and comfort students.

Before Thanksgiving break, teachers showed their second period classes a video and presentation discussing the run, hide, and fight protocols. Students were given the opportunity to ask questions and join the discussion in how to better prepare for an active shooter on campus, which helped students begin to feel more prepared. 

In math class, example questions are given by teachers to learn how to solve certain problems. To truly understand the concept, practice problems are given for students to ingrain the information in their head. 

The run, hide, and fight video and presentation showed students how to solve the problem, but no practice problems were given. In a real life situation, rational decisions may not be made to solve certain problems regarding safety. When taking a math test, problems should not be seen for the first time, for the answer will likely be incorrect. 

A real life shooter should not be the first time students experience this situation, or irrational decisions might be made. 

Students should feel fully informed and comfortable that they will react correctly to different situations, especially with an open campus, which makes PVHS more vulnerable to intruders. 

Though the run, hide, and fight presentation answered many questions and concerns regarding school shooters, students might feel more prepared with a realistic drill, similar to the experience teachers had before school started. 

Understandably, many school districts around the country restrain from exposing students to these overly emotional experiences. However, it is essential to learn how to manage these emotions so irrational actions can be avoided. Though our school seemed to prepare well for a school shooter behind the scenes, more could be done to prepare and inform students for these situations. Hands on experiences could allow students to feel more prepared and comfortable going to school.