Students Taking Drill More Seriously

By: John Tramontana Email
By: John Tramontana Email

Administrators at Holt Junior High School worry state required tornado drills have become too routine for students. That's why they changed their approach Tuesday as part of Severe weather Awareness Week.

"We kind of do drills and they become routine...drills for drills sake," said junior high principal Dr. Johnny Scott. "However, with that horrific accident and situation down south with tornadoes, it has just made it that much more important."

Those deadly tornadoes in Alabama were responsible for the death of eight students earlier this month. Those storms caught the attention of administrators throughout Mid-Michigan. This year in Holt, local emergency officials were brought in for a special presentation about the importance of safety.

"Just by the nature of kids seeing someone official and representatives of other agencies, i think it added a sense of urgency and credence to the drill," Dr. Scott said."

The students agree.

"I think it's really important because if you don't do them, how are you supposed to be prepared if it really happens," said 8th grader Emilio Castillo.

And while an average of just 15 tornadoes hit Michigan each year, other severe weather is more common. Three years ago, a micro burst of wind damaged Vermontville high school -- tearing off parts of the roof. So if the real thing were to happen again....

The children file into the hallway and duck and cover against the wall -- following procedures listed in every classroom.

"In Michigan, weather changes so abruptly that we always need to be prepared," said Lori Conarton of the Michigan Severe Weather Awareness Committee. "An interior room or hallway with no windows is the safest place."

A place Holt students will now remain in the event of an emergency.

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