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Active shooter drills train staff to reduce risk

Catherine Monroy, Staff Writer

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Run, Hide, Defend, more commonly known as Code Red, has always been a serious matter between adults and students in schools. The Run, Hide, Defend procedure is used when a possible threat has entered school grounds (this often takes the form of an active shooter), and both students and staff are at risk.

The first action to consider in a Code Red situation is to run or evacuate the area. If a person has a safe escape from the area, then they must run as fast and as far as possible until they are away from danger. They must leave their belongings behind and, if they have an opening, help other people escape safely as well, but it is not recommended to help someone who is injured as it will put the person running in danger too. When they have escaped they must prevent others from entering the area and call 911.

Although schools cannot practice the running portion, students are most familiar with hiding (also known as lockdown). That is when an escape is not possible and everyone must lock the doors, turn off lights, cover windows and create a barricade to hide behind. During this time, everyone in the class must remain silent and avoid possible entries until the threat has been apprehended. The goal of this is to slow down the perpetrator from getting to students and staff.  

The last resort is to defend, or to fight for your life. It is taught that staff should put themselves in harm’s way in order to protect their students, but police say it is best to attack in groups (a recommendation for junior students and above). In order to defend oneself, one must commit to their actions, act as aggressively as possible, use improvised weapons, try to disorientate the perpetrator, and, if possible, tackle them to the ground and hold them there until police arrive.

During one of the many collaboration days, teachers are trained on the process of Run, Hide, Defend. These drills are not only for the teachers to practice with their students the steps it takes to protect themselves, but also for kids to understand the process it takes to prepare for such a terrifying situation.

Principal Cheryl Lawton, who had been in a real Code Red situation in her previous school, says “The people who know what to do stay safe….[it] only needs to happen to you once”.

The student was 17 years old and before he could cause any damage to anyone a small group of teachers had tackled him down. Although Code Red drills are only drills, the seriousness of the matter is still there. Police officers, Deans, and the Principal herself go around campus during drills to check each class on their barricades and if they were quiet.

“There was one teacher that had holes in their barricade” says Cheryl Lawton, “we get mad….we markdown the teachers that didn’t do it right”.

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The Student News Site of Branham High School
Active shooter drills train staff to reduce risk