Katie Cooper and Remy Schimick
It is routine for public schools to conduct safety drills, but at Freeman on Thursday Jan 17, the whole school participated in two drills in one day: a fire drill and a hide-and-lock drill. Normally, the drills are conducted within normal class time, but for the first time, however, the school conducted the hide-and-lock drill in the middle of a transition period.
Occurring in between second and third period, students and staff had to find the nearest classroom to hide in for the safety drill, putting students in unfamiliar classrooms with students and teachers they have never met before.
The nearest classroom for freshman Lucas Silva to hide in was the gym. “We were in the girls’ locker room,” he said. “[Mrs. Milton] kept telling us to stay quiet and keep our heads down. Everyone took it seriously,” he said.
Sophomore Amaya Ball said her hide-and-lock experience was a little different.
“I was goofing off,” but added that “drills are more important” and that “you never know what’s going to happen,” she said.
Laura Hollowell, administration, said there were some possible “weather concerns” coming this week, according to social studies teacher and administration aid Beverly Steele. Doing two drills in one day would help reach the needed number of drills the school practices per month without interfering with benchmark testing this week and chances of school cancellation from snow.
These drills have become routine for students who rehearse emergency procedures a couple of times every month, which are instructed by Henrico County.
“I had to yell at kids to get in [the classroom] after students tried to get to their next class because it was “‘close,” said art and ceramics teacher, Elizabeth Jones.
During first period, a loudspeaker announcement was made, stating if any student is outside during a real hide-and-lock, they are instructed to leave the campus.
These drills serve as a reminder of how important it is for the school to stay as safe as they can be during difficult situations.