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  • Alexis Padilla, Northeast Arkansas News

Westside Schools changes fire drills

Parkland, Florida back in February and Santa Fe, Texas earlier this may.

Both school shootings have a common theme, pulling a fire alarm to get students out of the building.

Westside School District saw it at there middle school 20 years ago.

“A lot of times fire alarms are pulled as a means of getting students out into the halls or to the outside where they can be...lack of a better term shot at”, said Scott Gauntt, Westside Superintendent.

To help combat this the district decided to get rid of unannounced fire drills.

They will still have them but with a new method, “Us picking up the intercom and saying teachers we are now having a fire drill and then we’d ring the fire alarm. So, it would still be unannounced, but the teachers would know we’re in charge of the drill. If for some reason we have an unannounced fire event. If the teachers are in class and the fire alarm goes off they would know until they hear something from the intercom not to turn out their kids”, said Gauntt.

Westside will also be changing their drill exits to a rotating system.

Gauntt believes this will help their students and staff better prepare themselves for any dangers that may happen.

“You’re gonna have to think your way out of that problem. And I can’t sit here in my office six years ahead and say ‘you need to go here’ cause that’s not a very feasible plan. We need to be able to problem solve. We need to be able to problem solve, we need to be able to evaluate, and make sure that our students get to the safety that they need”, said Gauntt.

Westside regularly reviews their safety measures to ensure they are protecting their students the best way possible.


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