A.L.I.C.E Drill as a Museum Walkthrough

— Written By

The number of school shootings have reached all time highs in recent years. Many schools are struggling with how to prepare students for potentially dangerous intruder situations. Some schools have adopted ‘active shooter’ drills in which the schools goes into lock-down to mimic such a situation. This submission comes from Emily and experience in one of these drills.

Empty school classroom. Yellow walls. Red floor. Blue and tan metal desks.

A.L.I.C.E Drill as a Museum Walkthrough

By Emily Bourne

(The A.L.I.C.E. [Alert, Lock-down, Inform, Counter, Evacuate] drill is a plan that guides individuals on how to handle a violent intruder event. High schools have recently transitioned to this plan amidst greater security concerns)

Exhibit A:

A policeman is the first thing you see on the first day of school.

That same day you have a lockdown drill

& feel the coldness of the sink in the art room

bite against the small of your back.

You put your hands together in prayer

when you haven’t prayed for years.

Wait for the heavy footsteps of a stranger’s face

you hope you will never see.

Wait & listen for raining footfalls to come as thunder.

You, young you, no longer feel safe

in school.

Exhibit L:

Hold your breath. Suspend it in your pounding head going at 90mph

thinking of which pocket you put your phone in today.

Did you put it on silent?

What if that spam caller decides to call you now?

You’re afraid to wake up the chaos breathing slowly

through the hallways.

The girls in the corner start to braid each others hair,

& you think to yourself

I’ve never seen a group of highschoolers be so calm

& be so scared.

Exhibit I:

I don’t see why our bodies have to shield a country that won’t shield us.

Why students come to school to become soldiers

wrapped in the blanket of a country that refuses to cradle it.

Why building a wall is more important than amending our fear

fueled by a few sentences on a sheet of old parchment that says

someone’s right to a gun is worth more than my life.

Listen, I want to have my 15 seconds of fame

but not like this. Not on the news.

Not as a body on national television

where I am known as a statistic instead of my name.

There is prolonged silence in the air.

Exhibit C:

We can crouch in the corner

Turn off the lights

Make it seem like we were never there.

We can lock doors

grab books to throw

instead of read.

But still,

a drill is a drill

that ends in seeing our lives play out in our head

in different What-Ifs.

What if I could run, run, run faster than a bullet?

End up in the middle of a forest, not knowing which way is home.

What if. What if. What if. What if I.


Exhibit E:

Your principal’s voice comes on over the crackling loud speaker.

‘All Clear’ resonates through the school’s mourn.

Silence has never sounded so low and beaten.

The drill has ended.

You may evacuate your state of subtle panic.

Please resume normal operations.

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