As part of a multifaceted approach to improving the safety readiness of all of the schools in the Wauseon School District, our school leaders will work more closely with our local first responders this year. The goal is to practice a variety of school safety drills with more realism and fewer routine situations. The district understands that we cannot go to the point where we frighten students, however, we must provide our entire staff with opportunities to make decisions that will protect our students from danger, specifically when there is not a set response for all staff members in the building based on their students’ location. Therefore, staff and students will be alerted to the nature of a drill in times when the realism would create doubt if the situation is real or a safety drill. In addition, the age of our students will be taken into account when we plan drills in our different buildings.
The first realist drill occurred on the staff development day when the students were not attendance and it involved a simulation of gunfire and several intruders.
A recent article on the subject of safety drills called, How Realistic Should They Be?, provided the following *information: “ Rather than frighten, the drills are intended to reassure students and their parents that everyone in the school would know what to do in an emergency, administrators and safety experts said.
A study in the School Psychology Review examined the effects of crisis drills on students and found that they increased their knowledge of what to do – but not their anxiety levels or perceptions of safety.”