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Hiding under the desk gets harder with age

A few notes from this week's school shooter drills

Starla Pointer / News-Register<br><B>Christy Giddings, center, gets into her role as a staff member trying to keep a pesky reporter, played by Vicky Williams, away from the scene of a school tragedy during Wednesday's drill. The exercise looked at all aspects of such an incident, from police response to helping students reunite with parents.</b>
Starla Pointer / News-Register
Christy Giddings, center, gets into her role as a staff member trying to keep a pesky reporter, played by Vicky Williams, away from the scene of a school tragedy during Wednesday's drill. The exercise looked at all aspects of such an incident, from police response to helping students reunite with parents.

Jun 27, 2014


By Starla Pointer
Of the News-Register



As an education reporter, there’s nothing I like more, nor find more valuable in my reporting, than experiencing just what the kids are experiencing. I attend assemblies, listen to teachers read stories, observe science experiments and — my favorite — work math problems in my reporter’s notebook during math classes.

Naturally, when I was invited to attend a joint school district and police department mock shooting exercise, I wanted to take part in an active way. So, like many other adults and high school students, I accepted an assignment to play a youngster whose normal school day was interrupted by the sounds of gunfire.

Every single person involved in Wednesday’s exercise had the same thought, I’m sure: Let this never happen here. But if the unthinkable should occur, let us be prepared.

So I lay on the floor in the library at Wascher Elementary School, and later crouched beneath a table at Mac High, listening to police officers subdue a bad guy. I was lucky. It wasn’t real, and I had plenty of time to consider what I would do in a real situation.

Next time I enter a classroom, or a store, or my office, I’ll be more aware of the potential exits and secure spaces. A quick inventory around as I walk in could mean I’ll have a chance to walk out again.

On a positive note, the high school students hiding in the rooms with me already had the idea, since they’ve been though lockdown drills in school, just as people my age practiced fire drills. Walking into the library, for instance, they quickly picked out places where they could hide. When danger arose, they were quick, efficient and quiet.

On a negative note, I learned about another difference between today’s teens and those of us who went to high school a few decades ago: Either I’ve gotten way too old, or the floor has become way too hard, for hiding under a desk.

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