Schools go the extra mile to prepare for Storms, Tornadoes

By Kristen Shepard
Staff Writer

Each school year, Texas high schools are required to carry out a certain number of disaster readiness drills. Though schools take these drills very seriously, officials hope that the school will never need to perform the drill in spite of a real disaster.

When this past Tuesday’s severe storms hit, all Coppell schools went into lockdown around approximately 2 p.m., sending hundreds of students into “duck-and-cover” positions in the halls. These drills lasted almost 45 minutes at Coppell High School, yet took significantly longer at other places like Northlake Community College.
Junior Natalie Oden is involved in the Dual Credit program at Northlake and was on site when the storms hit. School officials sent all students into halls and bathrooms to observe tornado safety measures. For over an hour, students including Oden waited for the storms to pass.

“Northlake didn’t do anything wrong in my opinion. Everything went orderly and there was a teacher nearby who gave us updates” said Oden. “It was annoying that even though our classes were cancelled, we had to stay on campus, but it was all to keep us safe.”

At Coppell High School, the case was not too different. Sophomore Peyton Kingsley spent the majority of her Art History class period in the hall preparing for the worst. All E hall classes were required to perform similar precautions, leading to a shoulder-to-shoulder crowded hall.

“I can see where people need to behave during drills because it would be really difficult to be safe if people weren’t being mature,” sophomore Peyton Kingsley said. “It can be really scary to have to prepare for a storm, but everyone is more safe when drills work out”.
Despite the inconvenience of these drills, administrators were impressed by the maturity at which most students handled the situation and how smoothly the drills went. Each class in the school went into duck-and-cover mode and few issues prevented anything from going against plan.
“This year, we made some changes to the way that these drills are run” Coppell High School Assistant Principal Sean Bagley said. “We saw some instances where classrooms that are considered safe were being evacuated, when students would have been just as safe inside. We mainly made changes to logistics and we were very pleased with the results”.

By law, schools are required to complete one disaster readiness drill each month. This drill can be a tornado, fire or even a lock-down drill, but is expected to be taken seriously and performed in an orderly manner. Many hours of preparation go into planning the way drills will take place and the safest way to approach each disaster. Fortunately, these hours paid off when the safety measures went smoothly and proved effective during the past Tuesday’s storms.