Staff Takes on Earthquake and Lockdown Drills

Jahzelle Ford and Clarissa Arceo


Students and staff have been participating in earthquake and lockdown drills year after year. Familiar and routine for most, these drills may not be taken seriously by everyone participating. What do Downey High’s staff have to say regarding these drills? This will discuss their unbiased opinions on the drills at DHS. Students will eventually leave and no longer have to deal with high school drills while teachers will continue to be a part of each drill every school year until retirement.  


The concerns of these drills differ which affects how the seriousness of each is interpreted by individuals on campus. During the procedures, it is expected that everyone treats it as if it were a real situation. Fortunately, most staff and students have not experienced an extreme earthquake or lockdown situation but this causes them to be unable to do so to the extent that is expected. 


For the past eight years, history teacher Christopher Castile has been teaching at Downey High. For each of these years, there have been earthquake drills however lockdown/ lockout drills have only recently become part of Downey High’s agenda. It is to Castile’s understanding that each drill is a necessity to keep the campus prepared for what could possibly come.


“The more you practice it, the more you do it, the more everyone knows what to expect, the more that will put people at ease because they know that there’s- we know exactly what to do,” Castile recalled. “So I think it is essential.”


When it comes to an earthquake drill, the campus understands immediately what they are preparing for. This is not the case with lockdown drills, there are reasons besides the threat of a school shooter that may force the campus to go into lockdown but because a shooter is the first thing in most individual’s minds this is often forgotten.


Lockdowns, whether they are for shooters or possible intruders or any other reason, and earthquakes are both intense situations that could put anyone on campus at risk. Still, students and even many teachers tend to take lockdown drills more seriously than earthquake drills. There are multiple reasons that vary between person to person as to why they might take a lockdown more seriously, Roger Rios, one of DHS’ English teachers provided a reason that stood out.


“Fear. Everyone’s afraid right?” Rios explained. “I think just your standard everyday person in this arena is – has a level of fear there right? And since we don’t really- I don’t really know where in our society right now people are really talking about what’s behind the fear.”


The fear that gun violence could appear on campus may motivate some to take the lockdown drills more seriously as opposed to the earthquake drills. The staff at DHS are not riddled with anxiety over gun violence at school but do feel more at ease knowing the district is doing something to keep us prepared. They show how prepared they expect to the campus to be to a certain extent.


“If you’re gonna say we gotta do this because it’s important in case some stuff goes sideways then shouldn’t we be doing it more often so it’s more kinda normal in what people expect?” Rios said. “It’s good now but if we’re really worried maybe we should be doing more.”


Other than possibly doing more drills, there is not much else DHS has to do in terms of preparing for the intense events of earthquakes or lockdowns. It may be on the back of an individual’s minds but the campus remains ready.