The Bar-On Brief: Why this week’s ‘Run Hide Defend’ drill was better than ever before

Ben Allan

By Shauli Bar-On , Columnist

The Bar-On Brief: A weekly column
The Bar-On Brief: A weekly column

In a matter of seconds, the door was locked, the desks were flipped and the sunlight was shut out from the room. The only remaining light originated from the blue desktop of a single computer monitor we forgot to turn off. Within 30 minutes, the computer went into sleep mode, and that light too ceased to shine.

The blue light was the only mistake students of C105 made in running through the ‘Run, Hide Defend’ drill this past Tuesday. It could not have run any smoother.

Tuesday’s drill, formerly known as “Code Red,” was a huge contrast compared to last year’s. Maybe it is because the journalism students spend more time together than most other classmates, but in any case we got the job done efficiently, professionally and safely.  We kept silent and resisted the urge to use our phones the whole time — I am not sure many teenagers are capable of that.

The officer wasn’t able to bust through our barricade, yet he still made sure to give us feedback on how we could be even more secure. He then chose our class to practice an evacuation routine. One by one, we marched with our hands on our heads out to the field to meet other evacuated classes. More policemen patted some of us down, and we remained outside until we received the all clear.

I always knew these drills were important, but this one was different. This was the first time I had run through the whole procedure. I truly praise and thank both the school and Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Department for their professionalism and for planning a drill that may have taken away class time, but in no way wasted it.

With school shootings periodically in the headlines, everyone — students, teachers and even substitutes — needs to have a set course of action be second nature, even reflex.  

Just as Deputy Tom Bond told The Epitaph last year, The drills are “just like tying your shoe. The more you practice, the more comfortable you become.”

Up until this year, we’ve risked tripping over our own laces. But after Tuesday, we’re one step closer to a perfect procedure.

And with that, I rest my case.

The Bar-On Brief is a weekly column that runs Thursdays. 

Follow Shauli Bar-On on Twitter @shauli_baron