(KPIX 5) – It’s the new normal; as kids head back to school, we are arming them with the knowledge of how to stay safe if a gunman enters their school.
“It’s more than just an educator doing a drill with a student,” said Ann Katzburg, President of the San Ramon Valley Education Association. “It really encompasses a community effort.”
Katzburg was a teacher for many years before becoming president of the SRVEA. She says since the deadly shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, students have taken charge and spoken up for stronger gun control.
“There’s no longer a code of silence. That doesn’t work anymore,” said Katzburg. “That teenage code of silence has gone away, because our teenagers now understand the importance of making statements.”
In addition to earthquake safety drills that practically every adult in California experienced when they were in school, our kids are now experiencing active shooter drills. Covered in fake blood, calling out for help, and knowing the best escape route is today’s reality for a lot of students across the country.
And that weighs heavily on parents’ minds. “Every time they go to school, I drop them off, I always think about it,” said Alameda High School parent Fitsum Worrede. “I worry about it. It just doesn’t go away.”
“In my day, it was nuclear war drills,” said parent Darren Roach, whose child also attends Alameda High School. “His day it’s the fire drills, the shooting drills, and it’s the other things that he may have to navigate his way through.”
As part of their eight modernization projects this summer, San Ramon Unified School District has made a number of security updates including cameras, gates, and fencing along the perimeter of their campuses. The projects are multi-parameter where they start at the core and move out to the perimeter. And while the physical barriers continue to go up, Katzburg is encouraging San Ramon Valley students to speak out.
“And I think that we need to work as a country in obliterating the hate that I am experiencing and that I am seeing at this time,” said Katzburg.