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