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Are We Prepared?

If a disaster were to happen, the only capability we have as students is to be prepared for the worst. Disasters cannot be foreseen and cannot be prevented. As a large establishment, it is necessary for a fool-proof and efficient plan to be in place in the event of a school shooting or natural disaster. In our own school, we practice disaster drills once a month. Many teachers and students believe that in the event of a disaster or school shooting, Santa Barbara High School would be grossly underprepared. Many question the actual efficiency, preparedness, and enforcement of these drills. 

To address these issues, an informational meeting was conducted with our schools Assistant Principal, Mr. Razo. Mr. Razo proudly spoke of the school shooting preparedness video that was meant to be played in every seminar classroom last year. When he asked me if I saw it, and what I thought about it, I had to respond that I had not seen it. When I asked many of my classmates and peers if they had seen the video, they also said they did not. So what does this say about the actual influence that the administration has over the teachers and student body? The Santa Barbara Unified School District Administration expects that their mandate will be carried out, which implies that their job ends after their mandate. Evidently, this is not the case; the district is made up of a lot of faculty and students so there is bound to be human error. Who is to say that a teacher will take time out of their agenda and curriculum to have a full discussion and run though of disaster drills?  Considering the loads of curriculum to absorb, it is unlikely that a teacher or student will take the time out of their work to show a video in their class or do in-depth discussions of disaster preparedness with so little time to do it.  

Yes, the high school does have plans on paper, but many schools around the country do not want to do something as simple as a lockdown drill, in fear that it could trigger a sense of panic among students and faculty. On top of this, there is little to no federal funding that provides money to schools for safety improvements. On a national scale, little is done to ensure safety in schools from both natural and human-made disasters. 

Additionally, the number of mass shootings in schools nationwide have spiked. Going to school is no longer a safe place. Parents send their kids to school fearing they will not come back. The likelihood of our school continuing to go unthreatened by a natural disaster or school shooter drops every single day. In the event of a school shooting, how prepared would we actually be? A plan on paper is not enough to keep us alive.  

Santa Barbara High School is also inadequate in its infrastructure. Logistically, the school is 40 acres and has many stairs and enclosed areas. The way the school is built would be a hindrance in the event of a disaster. Students and teachers have gained an adherent aversion to drills. They are no longer taken seriously, making it tough to gauge what really needs to be done and when. The ability for students and teachers to hear in the event of an actual emergency is also compromised. Regardless of these issues, teachers continue to praise technology as if it were a sufficient substitute for actual knowledge of where to go and what to do. Administrators speak highly of technology’s role in the efficiency of disaster preparedness. Santa Barbara High School is now using the CrisisGo app. Relying on technology is problematic, because in the evident technological difficulties, technology does not always work and becoming reliant on it would bring great calamity. 

When preparing for a disaster, the most important thing is finding the best way to help the most people. A written plan or an app is not enough. As a student body we need to take these monthly drills more seriously. These are done to help us. The administration needs to enforce responsibility and act more effectively. Saying is not doing.


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    Co-Editor in Chief 2020/2021! Senior - Grade 12 I've been involved in school journalism throughout middle school and high school. I plan to go to university for journalism and political science.

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