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Students experience first school active-shooter drill

Jessica Salguero and Anthony Weatherspoon

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Freshman Itxel Huerta rushes into the girl's bathroom to seek refuge during the shelter in place drill on April 12. This is Daniel Pearl Magnet High School's first ever active shooter drill, which started as a precaution in light of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, which took 17 lives and happened Feb. 14.

The sound of footsteps thundered down the hall as students scurried to the nearest classroom during today’s active shooter drill during morning break.

Students had been instructed to remain silent as blinds were drawn, lights were shut off and doors were locked. A handful of faculty members walked around campus ensuring that all doors were secure and would keep students safe during a real emergency.

If students found themselves in one of the courtyards or in the hallway, staff urged them to find the closest open door, including restrooms. Any individual who found themselves seeking protection in a restroom were supposed to immediately close the door and make sure all windows were secured.

“Unfortunately, I think that we live in a time that we have to have students aware at all times,” Principal Deb Smith said. “If we’re faced with a serious situation like an active shooter, students need to be aware of where they need to go and how to keep themselves safe.”

The drill was planned by Smith in response to recent school shootings, in particular the Feb. 14 one at Marjory Stoneman Douglas in Florida that left 17 people dead and 17 injured. Since the start of 2018, there have been over 20 active shooters on multiple school campuses.

With school shootings becoming less of a rarity, students must be prepared to handle such a difficult situation, Smith said. She wanted to ensure that Daniel Pearl Magnet High School staff and students were aware of what to do in case a similar situation arises in the future.

“It’s sad that we even have to have a drill,” senior Francheska Vincents said. “But at the same time the idea of it was practical because it’s the world we live in.”

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Students experience first school active-shooter drill