Where were the students? | CraigDailyPress.com

Where were the students?

210 of school's 350 students did not attend disaster drill

When the “shots” rang out at Craig Middle School, few students were there to hear them.

Of the school’s 350 students, 210 weren’t there Wednesday for a mock disaster drill. The scenario outlined had two “shooters” in the school and a hostage situation.

Whether students were pulled from school by parents opposed to the violent nature of the drill or whether they were following mistaken advice from some teachers to not attend is unclear to school officials.

School secretary Beth Gilchrist said she received some letters from parents who opposed the drill, but most didn’t state the reason.

There was a miscommunication, she said. Some teachers told students to not attend school that day, and others recommended against it, saying there would be little to do.

Regardless, students who stayed called the drill “boring.”

“You couldn’t talk because you had to listen,” seventh-grader Bridget Harrington said. She and her friends sported compact disc players they brought to kill time while the school was in lock down and they were stuck in the same classroom for more than two hours.

Other students said that after they talked about how to handle a violent situation and where to find cover, they watched movies.

“Teachers told us to bring something to do,” Harrington said.

In a group of six girls, five said they wished they would have left the school, too.

Kelsey Grinstead was one who was glad she stayed.

“I wanted the experience,” she said.

All said they learned something — to not panic and to take shelter.

“I thought it was really cool,” eighth-grader Alexandra Ledesona said. “I learned that we were safe if something did happen.”

The number of students out of school during the drill led to several phone calls to the school. Gilchrist said people all over town were noticing how many children were out riding their bikes on a school day.

Students may have been bored, but Gilchrist was not. She was in the room the “gunman” originally entered and was responsible for reporting the event to dispatch.

“It was a lot different than I expected,” she said. “It was a lot more real than I expected.”

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