MSD students express their opinions on practicing a code red drill during A lunch

Students+share+mixed+opinions+on+the+lunchtime+code+red+drill+held+on+Monday%2C+April+18.

Julia Landy

Students share mixed opinions on the lunchtime code red drill held on Monday, April 18.

Kate Becker, Section editor

Every month at MSD, and schools across Broward County, there is a code red drill for students and staff to practice the procedures employed in the case of a real code red. Students have begun to get used to such an occurrence; an administrator announces over the public announcement system that they will be conducting a code red drill, teachers shuffle students to their designated safer spaces and lights are turned off. Students and teachers sit silently in their classrooms until an administrator comes back on the announcements to officially end the drill.

However, on Monday, April 18, MSD held a different code red drill. Instead of starting the drill during class time, the practice procedures were initiated during A lunch.

According to Broward County Public School policies regarding code reds, schools must have a code red drill once a month to keep students familiar with the procedures of the code and the safer spaces in each of their classrooms. Recently, the Office of Safe Schools of the Florida Department of Education, which was created to support districts in providing a safe learning environment for students and educators, established a new requirement to have a code red drill practiced during a time besides during class.

“The State of Florida felt it was important to have a drill at lunch and changing periods so students know where to go if they are out in the open when a code red is called,” Assistant Principal Jay Milmed said.

Near the end of A lunch, approximately 11:14 a.m., Principal Michelle Kefford announced over the school P.A. system that the school would be conducting a code red drill.

Students in class, not at lunch, followed their usual procedures during code red drills. For those who were in the cafeteria, main courtyard or art courtyard, various members of the administration and security personnel directed students into the safer spaces for each respective area. For safety reasons, the locations will not be disclosed.

Since the practice was the first drill during a lunch period and the students have never been introduced to the new safer spaces, students have differing feelings on all aspects of the drill.

Students like freshmen Courtney Solinsky felt that the procedures were unorganized.

“I think [the code red drill] was a good ‘what if’ situation [if anything did happen], but I don’t think the school did it well because it was very chaotic,” Solinsky said.

Other students felt that while it was organized, the drill itself was unrealistic; some felt that in the event of a real code red, they would not hide on campus but leave entirely.

“The drill felt coordinated and organized, but it’s all just for show; if there was an actual code red, people would not be filtering into the [safer spaces] in organized lines, they’d be running frantically and leaving campus,” senior Logan Walsh said. “If there were an actual emergency situation, I’d be leaving or hiding in an area that isn’t large and exposed with lots of vantage points. While it may have been carried out smoothly, this is only because everyone was aware that there was no threat.”

Some students generally felt unsafe in the locations, as loud and large groups of people could potentially draw the threat to the students as opposed to protecting them from it.

“Although I found value in the thought behind [the code red drill], I think the organization could have been better. It was so crowded in the [safer spaces], loud, and I felt like I had no personal space. The COVID-19 precautions, whatever there was, went completely out the door,” Jane Doe* said.

After the drill had concluded, MSD administration had a meeting to discuss how the drill went. Kefford then came back on the P.A. at approximately 12:25 p.m. to inform students of important information for future drills or codes.

“It is very important that [students] adhere to the rules of your area. [Students] should be quiet, not wearing headphones, listening to music or using their phones,” Kefford said.

Milmed confirmed that there will be no more code red drills during times other than class time for the remainder of the 2021-2022 school year; however, there will be multiple drills in the following school year.

*Names indicated were changed to protect the student’s anonymity