Safety drills for a safer school

James Fein, Staff Writer

A top priority in the Commack School District is to keep students safe through conducting safety drills during the course of the school year. 

“We do four look downs [every year]. We have to have one done prior to December, two more done prior to May, and the other one is towards the end of school,” said Toby Elmore, the head of Commack High School’s security.

These lockdowns prepare students for real emergencies, such as the school shooting at Oxford High School in Michigan. 

“In Oxford, on the 30th of November, they had a sheriff’s deputy who knocked on the door. The kids were all like ‘no no no, we’re not opening the door’ because you’re not supposed to. You’re supposed to wait for the announcements that we’re all clear or everybody can be released. Kids jumped out the window because they had gone through the training,” said Vice Principal Matthew Keltos.

The safety drills are successful because they are periodically modified based upon recently transpiring events, such as the Oxford shootings in Michigan, which prompted additions and changes to the current lockdown protocols in public schools to better prepare students for real lockdowns. 

“What we can control is preparedness. If a kid said ‘this happened or that happened’ [during a drill] I would personally be happy to listen and make changes if they occur,” said Keltos.

Many students agree with the effectiveness of the safety drills. 

“They provide the best way to prevent being seen by the attacker,” said sophomore Shubhan R.

Safety drills provide the best method to prepare students, such as informing students to not open doors and remaining quiet together. Lock down drills prepare students for school shooters, natural disasters, or other unforeseen mishaps that may occur over the course of the school day. 🔳