Oklahoma Schools Consider Implementing 'Intruder' Drills

Wednesday, January 9th 2013, 6:17 pm

Oklahoma City grade school students may be coming home from class talking about a new drill. Some schools are adding "intruder drills" following the Sandy Hook tragedy in Newtown.

Most school districts in the area News 9 spoke with Wednesday, say they are at least discussing this, even if they haven't implemented it yet. An intruder drill would give students practice in what to do if a shooter was inside the school.

At Chandler's Park Road Elementary this week, in addition to their fire and lockdown drills, students will go through an intruder drill. Nathan Freppen's oldest son came home talking about it.

"They get real quiet, turn the lights off, shut the door and be as quiet as can be," he explained.

Just down the road in Wellston, administrators are also considering such a drill.

"We constantly re-evaluate what we're doing, especially in the light of everything that has happened recently," said Principal Tracy Fredman.

But even without an intruder specific drill, their current lockdown drill addresses what to do in case of a gunman is in the school. That includes turning off the lights, moving kids so they can't be seen from a window, and if possible, moving students into locked closets.

The drills not only prepare students, but allow administrators and teachers to evaluate their procedures. Fredman says the drills have led to changes including eliminating elaborate codes that would tell police where the problem may be.

"They don't need to try to tell them where it is, they know where it is it. They'll find it. We might as well spend our energy making sure our students are safe," she explains.

At Wellston, Fredman tells News 9 they will get community input before deciding to implement an intruder drill. Some parents are concerned that such a drill could make students afraid to go to school. But Freppen says he's OK with the drill in Chandler.

"I think it's sad we have to do it," said Freppen. "I think it's sad we have to do it, but I like it.  Hope for the best, prepare for the worst,"