Seeliger students practice lock-down drill | NevadaAppeal.com
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Seeliger students practice lock-down drill

by Teri Vance, Appeal Staff Writer
Ellen Boyd, a teacher at Seelinger Elementary School, comforts two of her students, Bradley Pine, 7, left, and Kevin Hinez, 6, during a school lockdown drill. The drill was held during an American Federation of Teachers Union meeting and had been planned for quite a while despite a real lock down in the Sparks area Wednesday. Photo by Brian Corley
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At 10:30 a.m. Thursday, an alarm sounded at Seeliger Elementary School. Principal Laurel Terry came on the loudspeaker.

“We’re having an extended code red because of danger in front of the school,” she announced.

Within minutes, students were gathered into their classrooms and huddled into corners away from windows. The lights were turned off and all the doors were locked.

Teachers whispered the roll and students responded likewise.

“You have to be quiet when you have a lock down so the guy doesn’t hear you,” said Triin Enge, 7.

But Triin said she wasn’t scared. She knew it was just practice.

Lead custodian Bill Todarello organized the drill to teach students and teachers what to do in case an intruder were to enter the campus or school.

Miranda Brraza-Lee, 7, was in the library with her classmates when the alarm sounded.

“The teacher made us go in the office and she closed the door,” Miranda said. “She turned off the lights and we played a game.”

Members from the American Federation of Teachers and the Carson City Sheriff’s Department were on hand to observe the mock lock down.

“We want to see a good system in action and see if we can get other schools around the country to learn from what’s going on here at Seeliger,” said John See, spokesman for the teachers federation, based in Washington, D.C. “One of the best things they do is get the whole staff involved in the planning.”

Sheriff Kenny Furlong also wants to become more involved in the planning of school emergency procedures.

He said he noticed some areas where the school could improve and scheduled a meeting with school district Director of Operations Mike Mitchell to smooth out the kinks.

“They’re pretty easy to iron out. It just requires us to coordinate and understand what we are doing,” Furlong said. “This administration will take immediate steps to open real solid lines of communication.”

The children also recognized the importance of running through the drill.

“If a real person came and we didn’t practice it, we wouldn’t know what to do and how to do it,” said Courtney Hack, 8. “It would be really hard the first time.”

And the teachers found comfort in the rehearsal.

“I feel more prepared now because we practiced,” said special-education teacher Ellen Boyd, who huddled with her students behind the shelter of a bookcase.

Steven Araujo, a member of the Oregon School Employee Association, observed the lock down.

“I thought the staff was very well prepared,” he said. “The students responded very quickly and without fear.”

The entire drill took 17 minutes, from the alarm to the time when each student and staff member was accounted for.

Alternate evacuation sites for the school include the Nevada National Guard complex on Fairview Drive, Sonoma Park and Fremont Elementary School.

Each school has a booklet outlining the response procedures appropriate for a variety of emergencies.