New Safety Policies Prompted by Claire Davis Law
New safety policies implemented this year by administration that require fire, lockdown and lockout drills to be practiced in every class were met with complaints by members of the community, yet an overall positive attitude from students and teachers alike.
The safety policies, prompted by the new Claire Davis Safety Act passed this summer, requires teachers to practice the drills in each of their classes, as well as collect students’ signatures confirming that they have practiced and understand the drill.
The Claire Davis Safety Act, named for the student victim of the 2013 Arapahoe High School shooting, holds teachers and schools accountable for going through procedures with students and reporting any troubling student behaviors. The legislation allows lawsuits against schools and teachers in the case of violence.
“[The law] forces schools to make sure that everybody's on the same page with kids,” said assistant principal Ross Sutter. “Not only with just kids, but with what we’re doing with our drills.”
According to Sutter, though the new safety policies are not required by the law, the Fairview administration chose to implement them because of the many transfer students that are unfamiliar with the school.
“90% of students already know what to do, they know where to go, they’re looking for the closest exit to go out of, but you may not know that there’s a lot of new kids that come to the school that don’t know,” Sutter said. “We just decided we can’t just rely on hoping that 90% know what they’re doing because they’ve been doing it for a long time.”
The new policies have garnered some complaints from students who feel that it is unnecessarily repetitive and a waste of class time.
“Once you know [the drills]… [it] doesn’t seem like you need to do them in all the classes,” said freshman Jack Balager. “Not for lockdowns because it’s all kind of the same thing. You just don’t leave the classroom. [During] fire drills, you go to different places.”
Balager also said that many students resent the drills because they feel that it is improbable that they will ever need them.
“A lot of people think… that we don’t need to do [the drills] at all because the chances [of needing them] are so low,” said Balager.
However, many students agree that the drills are important, despite the complaints.
“I think [the new safety precautions] are really helpful in case of an emergency,” said freshman Owen Breen. “Everyone knows what to do and no one is just scrambling around the school; everyone knows where to get out and such.”
Many teachers share this sentiment, though they have had to rearrange lessons to fit the drills into their classes.
“It’s kind of annoying having to leave class and add [the drills] into my curriculum,” said biology and health teacher Becky Roetto. “But I think it’s smart… I think if we ever, God forbid, have to do something like that, the more tuned in we are with what we have to do to keep us safe... the better.”
According to Sutter, the general response from both students and teachers has been positive, and both groups are actively participating in and paying attention to the drills.
“Teachers and students of our building, they do the right thing, and they know the importance of [the drills] and that’s why I love to go out and see it every day,” said Sutter. “I don’t hear complaints or things like that; that’s all I can ask for.”
According to Sutter, the unbalanced ratio of teachers to students makes it vital for every person in the school to know and understand the safety procedures.
“I’m one person, and we have 2,000 kids in the school and we’re 130 teachers. Everybody’s in charge of security,” said Sutter. “Safety is always a responsibility [to] everybody in the school.”
For Sutter, as well as students and teachers, the policies seem extensive yet necessary.
“I want to be prepared, just like everybody else,” said Sutter. “To me, it’s just common sense.”