The Kirkwood Call

Trench coat, baseball cap and airhorns

Richard Pfeifer, feature writer

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Richard Pfeifer

The day started with head principal, Dr. Mike Havener, making the announcement that KHS was expecting a intruder drill not initially specifying the time but later revealed to be 11:10 a.m., April 27. Then, at the expected time, airhorns, simulating gunshots, sounded in the social studies and science halls, and the “Crisis Go” apps, which KHS teachers use in emergencies to communicate, were activated. Depending on the location of the student relative to, KPD intruder actor, TJ Stemmler, the students would have either barricaded themselves in their classroom or evacuated the school.  

Although the drill was meant to simulate an active shooter event, students were alerted in advanced about the drill. The students were, in theory, kept in the dark about the exact time of the intruder drill; however, many students were aware of this time.

“I first heard about it in my second hour that day and then again in my fourth,” Eileen Finely, sophomore, said. “It was going around the whole [day]. I don’t think that the drill was the most realistic, but I do think that it is good to be precautious.”

According to Levaughn Smart, KSD safety and security advisor, there were a lot of flaws in the execution of the drill teachers and students need to solve that came to light during the drill specifically not reporting the intruder who, Smart admitted, was dressed to appear out of place with a trench coat and a baseball cap.

“We have done a poor job teaching, educating and empowering,” Smart said. “We expected that [no one was going to report the intruder]. This whole [drill] was to give a baseline.”

Although not all teachers in the language department had the “Crisis-Go” app, according to an anonymous teacher source, the evacuation of the language department went as planned. With first hand experience with the now updated drill some teachers saw it as a necessity or at the very least beneficial.

“I don’t think that [students] take the drill seriously, but you really cannot blame them,” Cheryll Bowman, German teacher, said. “[The drill] didn’t really replicate a situation where there is an intruder in the school, and I don’t think there is a way for someone to do that. I do think that it was a good attempt on the [district’s part].”   

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Kirkwood High School student newspaper
Trench coat, baseball cap and airhorns