Friday, November 04, 2005


We have occasional Lockdown Drills here at the school. They come on the PA system and announce that we are having a level 1 or level 2 lockdown drill. Level 1 is simple. Every student goes to a class, the doors are shut and locked, and no-one leaves. Level 2 is much more complex, as it means there is an emergency situation where there is danger to the students.

Yesterday, around 1 pm, there was an announcement on the PA for a Level 1 lockdown. They didn't say 'drill'. I was taking care of my smallest class (even smaller with 2 absences) and the Health Services class (the teacher was out sick), combining for about 13 students. Everything was pretty ok until the principal announced that we were to ignore the bell to transfer classes. This was totally new and signified that there was an actual incident. The Health students immediately began to panic.

Around 2 pm, the Principal announced that we would be in lockdown for at least an hour more. The Estill County kids go back to Estill County at 2:15. They were escorted to their bus and allowed to leave. This meant that the situation was not an armed one. Still, nothing would quell the Health girls. They had to pee. They were starving to death. They needed to call their parents. They needed to call their boyfriends. They needed to call their siblings still in the High School. They were trying to drive me crazy, I believe. My Principal came to the room to calm them. They refused to be calmed. They had every reason why the lockdown procedures shouldn't apply to them. They even threatened to leave, until the HS Principal announced that this was a state controlled lockdown and anyone leaving would be subject to arrest and expulsion. This stopped the threats to leave, but did nothing to stop the whining.

As it turned out, a student had brought mercury to school, and shortly after lunch, in an English class, dropped it and spilled the contents. This created a Hazardous Spill Situation. Some of the students in that class left and the lockdown was on.

Every student and teacher in the HS had to be scanned for mercury contamination. Over 1500 students and the entire staff has to be scanned. The scanning was being done by 2 people. We were in for a long evening.

I had to revise my definition of "mass confusion" last night. My previous definition of mass confusion was 'father's day in Indiana', but now it is a 'chemical spill at GRC'.

Anyway, we were stuck here at the ATC even though we were not contaminated, because they were bringing the busses through our lot and loading student that had been cleared through us. We all had bus duty.

By 7:30, must of the students had been cleared and the movement to the busses was a slow trickle. Karen sent us home. It was a 12 hour day.

There is no school at GRC today as clean up efforts begin. We still have students coming from Estill County, and, at last report, 60 elementary students are coming to tour our facility. Another long day.
I am sure there will be more to follow.

No comments: