Please Disregard the Bell
By Ugochi Onyeukwu and Shawntika Johnson
Imagine this: A fire alarm goes off. No one lifts a finger or bats an eye. Teachers continue to teach. Students continue to talk. No one seems to care as we wait for the inevitable announcement that follows almost every fire alarm at Cardozo: "Please disregard the bell." We've all become so used to this; we've become immune to the fire alarm.
The lack of regard for our fire alarm system could prove to be very dangerous. In fact, a few weeks ago, on Dec. 12, someone lit a fire in a trash can in the boys' bathroom. No alarm warned us about the situation, and the school was not evacuated. Maybe the administration thought they didn't need to sound the alarm because no one would have believed that there was a real fire anyway. If the administration had sounded the alarm, how many times would we have to be told, "This one's real" before we reacted?
After all, we have been programmed to ignore the daily false alarms. People's lives are saved everyday by fire alarms. When no one cares about when, how or why these alarms are being pulled, there is a problem.
We all know the reason why most students pull fire alarms. They want to get out of class or possibly, out of school. But they are putting the rest of us at risk. Fire alarms are installed in schools to keep us safe, but with so many false alarms, they don't have much effect on us anymore. The question is: What does the administration think it's proving by teaching us all to ignore fire bells? Do they think this means they're winning the battle of wills with the alarm pullers?
The administration needs to take this problem more seriously. They need to come up with a plan to monitor the fire alarms around the school more closely. Maybe they could use cameras to catch "the pullers" in the act. Students who pull the alarm as a prank should get a proper punishment. By doing so, the administration would send a message that they won't tolerate this kind of misbehavior. Once the situation is under control, students and staff will also need to be retrained to take fire alarms seriously. School-wide fire drills, including evacuation of all classrooms, should be scheduled periodically.
When we can find a solution for these false alarms, we will all finally know that when the fire bell rings we are actually in danger, and it is not just a prank that will be disregarded.
Please email us to report offensive comments.
Posted by: Dr. Anna Kinsman | March 23, 2007 8:34 AM
Posted by: George | April 18, 2007 10:52 PM
The comments to this entry are closed.