‘Run, Hide, Defend’ drill occurs at HHS

The annual exercise happened last month


Photo by Thomas Denome

The annual ‘Code Red’ drill took place on Tuesday, Oct. 25

The yearly HHS lockdown drill, known as ‘Run, Hide, Defend’, was held on campus Oct. 25.  Once known as ‘Code Red’, the drill’s name now reflects the procedure on how students should attempt to protect themselves in an active-shooter situation.

“We thought the vast majority of classrooms were well barricaded and taken care of,” Dean Steven Puccinelli said. “There were a few here and there where we’ll give feedback back to the teacher, saying ‘here’s how you can improve’ and what should be done in the future. But the vast majority of students and staff were right on it and did really well.”

The drill consisted of two parts: a barricading of each classroom by students and a special evacuation of the campus to the athletic fields. The first period students of classrooms C105, K1 and S5 additionally demonstrated evacuating with their hands on their head and were used to show an example of a pat-down search.

While the evacuation was not done last year, there was no special reason to perform it this time, Puccinelli said.

“We don’t always do the evacuation piece, every couple years we do that, because it takes more time, so we try to respect time,” Puccinelli said. “If we’re just barricading the classroom and you don’t have to go out to the field, it takes about half an hour for the drill.”

Despite having no specific goal for the drill, the administration hoped to fix some longstanding issues with the execution of the procedure and security of the classrooms.

“I think there’s always some issue with making sure the doors are properly locked and using either the two by four’s or the pliers,” Principal Greg Giglio said. “We’re always looking to make sure kids and staff can build the best possible barricades.”

On top of problems with barricading, the current procedure only covers one of the three steps to safety in a lockdown situation, Puccinelli said.

“In a real situation, running is your first option, get off campus. We can’t really practice that in a drill and the defending part we can’t really practice either, so the hiding is what we can really control and practice,” Puccinelli said.

Issues aside, the administration continues to see the importance of the drill.

“It’s great if [the drills] go perfect, but if they don’t go perfect, then we get to figure out how to fix them and so it’s not a bad thing to say ‘Oh, this didn’t work’,” Giglio said. “I’d rather have it not work on the drill than it not work in an actual run, hide, defend.”

While the administration remained optimistic about the success of the drill, some students had concerns about the school’s ability during the exercise or in an actual lockdown situation.

“We were not really briefed well on what we were supposed to do in various classrooms because we went over it just before the code red drill. It felt like some of [the students] had no idea what we were doing,” sophomore Alexander Law said.

Other students thought that struggles in individual classes might not be school-wide.

“I think that our class specifically struggles with [building a barricade], but I don’t think the entire school struggles with it,” sophomore Jalen Chan said.

However, the school continues to see the drills as necessary, Giglio said.

“Nobody likes to do these, it’s not fun to think about why we’re doing these, but unfortunately, it’s kinda where we are these days,” Giglio said. “Shootings happen pretty regularly, it happens near and far and it’s better to be prepared than keep your head in the sand and hope nothing happens.”