Monday, May 14, 2007

This is not a drill

We used to have combat drills when I was in the Navy. Shooting drills, abandon ship drills, collision drills, fire drills, etc. (we never had a repel boarders drill, although it turned out later we should have). Never, during a drill, where we told it was not a drill.

When we went to General Quarters (combat) for real we were told "This is not a drill". That phrase was part of the official broadcast announcement on the ship for when we went to emergency stations. "This is not a drill".

They didn't fool around with that phrase because you knew that when you heard that phrase you were supposed to kill somebody. That phrase struck fear in the hearts of brave men, because it actually meant something and we knew what it meant.

It seems that officials at a school in Tennessee have decided that it's not important to make sure that words retain a real meaning
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. -- Staff members of an elementary school staged a fictitious gun attack on students during a class trip, telling them it was not a drill as the children cried and hid under tables.

The mock attack Thursday night was intended as a learning experience and lasted five minutes during the weeklong trip to a state park, said Scales Elementary School Assistant Principal Don Bartch, who led the trip.


When you teach kids that it doesn't mean anything when you tell them "it's not a drill" then what do you do when it really isn't a drill? Are you going to have a way to communicate that? Do these teachers think it might be important to be able to communicate that?

I can't believe they had a drill and told people it was not a drill. I'm just stunned by the danger inherent in such a thing.
During the last night of the trip, staff members convinced the 69 students that there was a gunman on the loose. They were told to lie on the floor or hide underneath tables and stay quiet. A teacher, disguised in a hooded sweat shirt, even pulled on a locked door.
After the lights went out, about 20 kids started to cry, 11-year-old Shay Naylor said.
"I was like, 'Oh My God,' "she said. "At first I thought I was going to die. We flipped out."
Principal Catherine Stephens declined to say whether the staff members involved would face disciplinary action, but said the situation "involved poor judgment."

There's an emphasis on how frightened the drill made the children, and the cruelty of doing that. But the stupidity of the teachers runs much deeper than that. The most important thing in an emergency is that people actually know it's an emergency.

They blew the tornado sirens the other night here in Cushing, Oklahoma. I got out of bed, got dressed, got a flashlight, turned on the TV, prepared to go to my backyard storm shelter if the situation warranted it. That's because I knew that when they blow that siren it's not a drill. It's not time to fool around. Those kids need to know that when their teachers tell them it's an emergency that it's not time to fool around. They no longer have any way to know that.

That kind of behavior by the school staff actually puts the children at future risk.

Update:
Instapundit pointed to my post. I'm impressed.

I made a comment on a post by Ann Alhouse.

After being assured it's not a drill, the rational response by the students would be to find a weapon and kill whoever was pushing against the door.

As pointed out above, the irrational teachers never thought of that possible response, they just assumed hiding under the furniture is the response that would be taken by everyone.

I commented on this earlier this morning. The real problem is that drills like this one tend to make students less safe, not more safe.

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3 Comments:

Blogger Teresa said...

Congrats on the Instalanche.

You're perfectly right - this shows the stupidity of the teachers more than anything else. If I were a parent of that district, I'd be asking hard questions about the IQ level of those hired to teach my children...

8:26 PM  
Blogger Gary Carson said...

I got more hits yesterday than I did in the month of April.

School districts tend to hire just amazingly stupid people.

I'm writing a post right now about the stupidity of school lockdowns.

7:25 AM  
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1:24 AM  

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