SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. — New school emergency drill protocols have been put in place in Seminole County, two months after an unannounced "code red" drill at Lake Brantley High sent students running in panic.
- Seminole Schools, Sheriff announce new emergency drill policy
- Organizations worked together to develop new procedures
- Protocols developed after December drill sent students running in panic
Among the changes is that all "code red" drills will be announced beforehand, said a joint news release by Superintendent Walt Griffin and Sheriff Dennis Lemma.
They also have added "several layers of redundancy" both at the school and district level to ensure that advance notice of emergency drills are communicated, the news release said. Ongoing training will be conducted on technology and methods of communication.
“What I really like about the new procedures is that we communicate with all the stakeholders at the school," said Bobby Agagnina, a teacher at Lake Howell High school. "So that is our faculty and the parents, so that you don’t have a situation that occurs where everyone is upset.”
Lockdowns will continue to be initiated by any district employee or law enforcement official as needed, the news release said. A lockdown means that all doors will be locked, and students and staff will be told to take refuge in classroom safe corners. No one will be allowed to move from their location.
The new protocols were developed with ongoing input from students during a series of ongoing forums, they said.
"Over the past several weeks, our organizations have collaborated on developing new procedures related to emergency drills, to ensure that our schools continue to be a safe environment for everyone," the news release said.
In early December, an unannounced "code red" drill sent panic through the halls of Lake Brantley High School.
"In the moment, it was insane. I was about to eat lunch, and then I look outside, and I see everyone running... All we heard is 'code red,' " Lake Brantley student Anabelle Santiago said at the time.
The drill itself went off without a problem, a district spokesman said, but students and staff misheard a PA announcement about the success of the drill, causing confusion. Altamonte Springs Police said at least one student went to the clinic after twisting her ankle, and the fire department was called out after a faculty member complained of chest pains.