Orlando-Area School

Orlando-Area School's Active Shooter Drill Sparks Chaos

Parents and students have criticized an Orlando-area school following a "Code Red" drill that created unnecessary chaos.

Parents and students of an Orlando-area school are voicing their concerns after an active shooter drill created chaos, panic and confusion last week. The Florida school district vowed to make "changes' after the "code red" drill went awry. 

Students at Lake Brantley High School say the unannounced drill sparked disorder as people panicked over the potential of a possible threat. However, the school argues that a series of circumstances created a "perfect storm of events."

A spokesman for Seminole County Public Schools said the Seminole County Sheriff's Office conducted an unannounced "code red" drill in conjunction with the school district shortly after 10:00 a.m. Thursday morning. Videos published online show students in a frenzied state inside the school's cafeteria. 

Lake Brantley's principal, Trent Daniels, had initially attributed some of the chaotic scenes captured in the videos to incidents that occurred after the drill had been completed and the "code red" was lifted. 

In a phone message to parents, Daniel explained that the wave of panic was caused by a student's social media post about an active shooter on campus. The post was a screenshot showing an automatic text message sent to teachers alerting them that an active shooter was reported on campus at 10:21 a.m.

"Active Shooter reported at Brantley / Building 1/ Building 2 and other buildings by B Shafer at 10:21:45. Initiate a Code Red Lockdown," the message read, not indicating that the event was a drill.

"We do not know how the students got the screenshot, as that only goes to staff," Michael Lawrence, the spokesman for the school said. "We are currently investigating that further."

Students however told local news stations that the chaos was not in direct relation to the text message, but instead related to a message that was read over the loudspeaker during lunch. Lawrence confirmed that during lunch hours an announcement was made saying that the "earlier drill had been executed successfully." Students, half-listening in a crowded, loud cafeteria, said they only heard the words "code red" and panicked.

It was this message that sent students running out of the doors, sending frantic text messages to their parents who expressed a disappointment on social media over the school's response time in informing parents that the "code red" was just a drill.

Lawrence told local news that the statement to parents when out at least 30 minutes later than it should have. The district's "best practice" is to have schools immediately contact parents to inform them when they conduct drills, but on that Thursday, the message did not go out until 11:19 a.m. 

“I have spent the day debriefing with all parties involved in the event and I want to assure you that I’m committed to taking action based on lessons learned from those debriefings,” the principal said, according to the Sentinel.

Moving forward, the school district will ensure that parents are informed about future drills promptly. 

About the Author

Sydny Shepard is the Executive Editor of Campus Security & Life Safety.

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