Frequent state of alarm at River Valley
Every school routinely experiences fire drills, and the process necessitates certain steps: First, the alarm sounds. This alerts everyone that there may or may not be an emergency. Second, teachers lead their students out of the building in an orderly fashion.
Once at the rendezvous point, teachers hold up either a green or red card to let administrators know if a student is injured. Finally, everyone is instructed to return to class. Fire drills are an annual occurrence at River Valley High School — but this year, they were anything but.
The year started like any other, with — you guessed it — a fire drill. Everyone knew it was going to happen and did not think anything of it. What came as a surprise was when we had yet another drill — but this time, a prankster had pulled the switch.
The next alarm was because someone left something cooking in a microwave for too long. Then it was Mr. Lee's turn to set off the alarm (he is a chemistry and physics teacher). This was by accident, of course, while he was performing an atomic oxygen experiment.
Mr. Lee said, "I have never had this happen before, in all the years that I did this experiment. At first I thought that it was someone else, but then I realized that it was me. I did not see that coming at all." The hypersensitivity of the alarms has continued into the beginning of 2010.
Several more alarms occurred in February, but everyone just went with it. They were during third period, I might add — the period before lunch break. Coincidence? I think not. It was later determined that the culprit was cafeteria smoke. However, the cooking staff was only to blame for a handful of the fire alarms.
Interestingly enough, the alarms became so frequent that students and teachers could anticipate them. Shortly following one, Mrs. Coffman said, "This is just ridiculous. The fire drills are starting to interfere with my lectures. Something must be done."
Some of the students were thrilled to get out of class, but Shawn Dhillon, a senior, disagreed. "I was in the middle of a Biology 2 test, and the alarmed sounded. The test was pushed back to Monday, but I will have to study all weekend so that I do not forget anything."
Things started to get a little out of hand, especially when the fire department responded. Mrs. Lee exclaimed, "On command, it seems, there has been at least one fire drill during third period each week, except for this week."
Let's hope we have seen the last one, for all our sakes. However, I do not see them stopping any time soon.
Aizell Kittles is a senior at River Valley High School. His column appears about every sixth week in Education.