New evacuation plan exceeds previous plan
The administration rightly decided that the previous evacuation plan that placed the entire student body in one spot directly behind the school was not a great idea. However, the new plan, which splits the student body up on either side of the school, might not do the trick either.
According to the announcement made by President Rick O’Hara, the new plan is a response to the recent school gun-related incidents at Perry Hall High School, Morgan State University, and Stemmers Run Middle School, the administration was asked by the local sheriff’s office to reevaluate evacuation procedures.
The previous procedure was not the brightest idea in light of a school shooting. It would leave everyone scrambling to find their advisories, but more dangerously, it would leave the entire school in one very visible spot.
The new plan has the school population split in half, with one half on the football field and the other on the teachers’ parking lot. This plan requires classes to stand in straight lines and face the school, silently. While a few people wouldn’t mind standing and facing the school if it were in flames, but this particular position isn’t so great if there was someone marching through the empty hallways with a gun in tow ready for target practice. Standing still in the wide open football field is not the ideal thing to do when there is a school shooting.
In the case of an actual emergency, classes shouldn’t just stop at the edge of the football field or parking lot but continue going farther away from the school towards safety. The administration gets the benefit of the doubt in that case since all that has been experienced is the drill. In the case of an actual emergency teachers might lead their classes to safety. Hopefully the evacuation plan will not have to be put into use.
Instead of standing in the wide open space it could be safer for students and faculty to hide in classrooms in the case of a shooting. It is a big risk to go from the long wide hallways to the outside of the school. It might be an even bigger risk than barricading students in classrooms to keep out potential threats.
Aside from the plus of not having students and faculty in one spot that is close to the school, another advantage would be the new evacuation method. It is quick and stress free. Students were instructed by President O’Hara during an announcement before the drill to be silent so that the plan could be carried through properly. In less than five minutes, on the football field at least, students were in about eight straight lines, facing the school, standing completely silent.
The new plan has succeeded in having students exit the school and regroup. This end product is swifter and safer compared to 10 to 15 minutes of people running back and forth trying to figure out where their advisories are and stopping to chat with friends along the way.
The new evacuation plan bears safer and faster results than the past one. In the case of a fire, it is ideal, but in the case of a shooting, it might be safer for some to hide in classrooms.
Chioma Iheoma is an Opinion Editor for The Patriot and jcpatriot.com.