The Woodward News

Local News

December 29, 2012

Schools to conduct intruder drills

Woodward, Okla. — To better prepare for a situation like the recent Newtown, Conn. school shooting, Woodward Public Schools will soon be conducting emergency intruder drills.

Woodward Superintendent Tim Merchant said, "We're still drawing out the details, but on Jan 2, local law enforcement and emergency response teams will be conducting a live intruder drill inside our schools."

When asked why the school district had decided to hold the drill, Merchant said, "It serves a twofold purpose: firstly, for the emergency response and law enforcement teams, it's great training for that situation. Secondly teachers are constantly doing emergency drills, but none of our teachers have ever been put into a stressed situation like this before, so, without the kids being there, we're going to try to put them through as lifelike a situation as possible to sensitize them to what the situation might be like."

The superintendent said that the Jan. 2 drill will be conducted at the Early Childhood Center and Cedar Heights Elementary, with additional drills to be held later at the other school sites.

"We're not conducting them all at once because to make it as lifelike as it can be is going to take some time. Then afterwords we'll be sitting down, debriefing and going over our strong points and weak points and looking at opportunities to improve upon," he said.

Merchant hailed the drill as a great opportunity for the community, the schools, and response teams to see what areas need to be improved upon.

"Ultimately every decision and everything we're doing is to keep students as safe as possible," he said. "We do routine drills, fire related drills, intruder drills, this just adds a different component to it. You see mock training in other fields such as emergency management, so this simulation is just another great opportunity for training."

Merchant described the situation local teachers will find themselves placed in.

"We're going to put our teachers through the most realistic scenario we can to get them in the mindset of having an intruder in the building," he said. "We won't announce ahead of time what time of day the scenario will be supposedly happening in. We'll announce what time of the day its supposed to be, then they'll go to the area they would normally be in during that time of the day and respond as though they have their full class with them."

Merchant said that order to make the drill as effective as possible, the situation must look and feel authentic. To do that, the drill will include local police officers, sheriff deputies, and medical personnel responding to the emergency, as well as the possibility of blank rounds being fired during the simulation.

The superintendent admits that creating an authentic simulation for teachers, officers, and medical personnel will undoubtedly result in a situation that looks very real to those watching it from the outside. As such, he would like to alert the community that the situation on Jan. 2 will solely be a drill and there will be no actual danger for anyone to be concerned about.

"We need the message out there that during this time frame, these are only practice drills. If you're driving by, from the outside, this may seem like a very realistic situation, but people need to realize and know this is just a drill," he said.

The school has several means by which they plan to alert the community that the situation on Jan. 2 is only a drill.

"We plan to use the radio to help get the message out there that this is only a drill, but we'll also be using our Alert Now system and sending messages through the phone and by e-mail reminding individuals it's only a drill, and that students won't be there that day," Merchant said.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Boy, 7, drowns in weekend accident

    A seven-year-old boy died over the weekend when he fell into a swimming pool at a private residence in the Wheatridge addition, according to Woodward police reports.

    July 29, 2014

  • Commission OKs grader financing

    Monday morning in their weekly meeting, Woodward County Commissioners approved the financing on a new John Deere motor grader and discussed in detail the upcoming County Officers and Deputies Association meeting the county will host this October.

    July 29, 2014

  • Deal reached to improve veterans' health care

    WASHINGTON (AP) — A bipartisan deal announced Monday would authorize about $17 billion to help veterans avoid long waits for health care, hire more doctors and nurses to treat veterans and make it easier to fire executives at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

    July 29, 2014

  • Western Plains sets school supplies drive

     As the beginning of the school year approaches, so does the need for new school supplies.

    July 29, 2014

  • Area woman recovering from West Nile

    It wasn’t too many years ago when West Nile Virus was a scary word everyone hoped never happened to them and most of the time, that was true.

    July 27, 2014

  • Dedication set for art pieces

    Woodward’s collection of public art pieces will grow by two this week.

    July 27, 2014

  • ‘Support YOUR Cause Tour’ making stop in Woodward

    A musician is looking to raise $5,000 at an upcoming local concert.
    But Scott Helmer isn't raising the money for himself.  He is hoping to collect money to help support the Woodward Arts Theatre.

    July 26, 2014

  • Experts offer important tips on grilling

    When Roy Lenz prepares his grill for one of his famous steak nights at the Brandin’ Iron in Laverne, he does so with meticulous care and cleanliness, almost to the point of being compulsive.

    July 26, 2014

  • Light agenda set for county

    County commissioners will see a light agenda for their final meeting in July on Monday.

    July 26, 2014

  • State board votes again to delay education plan

    OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma's State Board of Education voted on Wednesday for a second time to delay a formal plan for adopting new education standards in math and English amid opposition to the proposal from three education groups that represent public school boards and administrators across Oklahoma.

    July 24, 2014