The Reality of Code Reds

The Reality of Code Reds

Hannah Burrell , Staff Writer

On Friday, September 20, 2019, our school initiated a code red drill. This drill was planned during lunch. Given how our school is on the verge of overcapacity with so many students, the code red during lunch seemed to be quite questionable regarding how the administrators were going to be able to complete this task. I had the opportunity to ask Mr. Bicknell, who is one of the many assistant principals at our school, a few questions on how he was able to come up with the idea of implementing the code red during such a chaotic time. 


 With the understanding that the Code Red was on Friday, what did it take to organize the code red during lunch?

All answers are paraphrased from a conversation with Mr. Bicknell…

 What happens is that at the beginning of the year, the county mandates the number of fire drills and code reds we have to put out and all the emergency drills of the year, so they upped our code red drills to ten and our fire drills to ten. We wanted to do lunch code red last year, so the three most vulnerable points that we haven’t covered yet during the code red was there was a lot of people we had a hard time controlling would be: drop off, lunchtime, and pick up. All code reds we try to cover all seven periods, so the way that was what to do in a code red.


  What would your advice be for a student who is locked out during a code red?

 If there was any chance that a student would be locked out, you have to remember to always run the opposite way from where you hear a noise. Whether it is banging, shots, or any loud noise you run the opposite way to try to get to the front of the school as soon as possible because there’s always the police and the golf cart guys.


Why did it take so long to hold a drill during lunch?

 We’ve never done a code red during lunch, so during lunchtime, we had to organize it and walk you [students] through it because we’re able to with one of these drills to guide you through it and tell you beforehand. That’s why we put together a map– Teachers received the map showing the areas of supervision including who is responsible for each area. A couple of days before we told everybody exactly what to do and their positions. We told all the students about it and to go to the closest building where you’re seated, and when we did it everything went well.


After the code red students were asked how they felt the drill went and if they feel any more secure after having run through a lunchtime drill. I had the chance to interview a couple of students who were present during the code red. I asked Caroline Z, a junior if she felt safe during the code red. This was her response:

“I made sure to be with a teacher so that I wouldn’t panic, but I felt pretty much safe.” 

Cynthia S, who is currently a junior had a response as well:

“Yeah I guess, but I thought I lost my phone, so it was kind of chaotic when they kept telling me, “Go! Go!” as I also kept dropping things.”

“Although it is terrible that we need to hold code red drills in school, it is comforting to know that in the case of an emergency we have a plan. Hopefully, we will never need to use it.”