Freeze and Think!

Near the end of October, students underwent their first-ever freeze drill. This precaution is a means to maintain a safe environment for Mitty students.

In terms of decision-making, the San Jose Police Department (SJPD) and the San Jose Fire Department (SJFD) give input to administrators and teachers with expectations of dos and don’ts for emergencies. The fire department comes in twice a year to inspect the fire alarms and systems, while the police department works regularly with the school. English teacher Dr. Jupin explains, “the community, the administration, and the teachers follow the lead of the SJPD, but we have to then make sure that our specific environments conform to what is necessary.”

This means that protocols are a culmination of resolutions made by law enforcement and administrators, as well as by teachers. Each room and region on campus have versions of the same procedures. As a standard in each class, blinds for windows are pre-established, and red door barricades are stored—the number determined by each room’s number of respective windows and doors. Despite the deceivingly simple materials and layout in each room, the evacuation route and post-operative procedures demand practice and flexibility. While students may crouch under desks and hide in rooms often, it is ideal to file out to select locations on campus whether it be the football field or the Moorpark 7-Eleven. Each decision has to be made hastily, yet rationally, under the stress of the pressing threat.

It is crucial for every student’s safety to be prepared, so freeze drill training is essential. Prior to the drill and under a grander scope, the Covid-19 outbreak, Mitty only implemented drills to be practiced in one room—homeroom. With the addition of the new measures, students are better able to understand and prepare for each class within their schedules. Former dean Mr. Abb states that “we do the actual drills in the homeroom meaning that everybody knows what it is like where they are located at that time, but being able to adapt to each period and listen to supervisors is key.” So, while normal drills are still effective and will continue to be utilized for practice, freeze drills offer different a type of value—they provide a mental mapping of each class to help better prepare students and staff alike for the unexpected.

While preparations may appear to be at times redundant, if disaster strikes, these drills lay the groundwork for our first line of defense to keep Mitty and our community safe.