Elementary teaching assistant Ana Tarus shares her experience during a stressful lockdown drill and evacuation that occurred at AISB about four years ago. 

What follows is Tarus’ story, in her own words:

“There are a lot of drills, since [AISB] constantly practices and prepares us for any emergencies. There was a moment a couple of years ago when we had to go out, and it sounded like a fire drill. We all followed the procedure and went to the field at the back of the school, and later on we found out it was a lockdown with an evacuation because somebody sent a bomb threat. 

The anti-terrorism specialists came and checked the entire school. We spent two and a half-to-three hours in the big soccer field until it was all clear. The major problem for us was that everyone was suffering from the cold since nobody brought along their jackets. Most of the kids were wearing Crocs or inside shoes, and short-sleeved clothing. I know Ms. Rosella Diliberto, the principal from ELC, came with some of those aluminum blankets to give to each class for the kids to share. 

To be honest, I freaked out for a moment, imagining all sorts of gloomy scenarios. I assumed there was a real fire based on some of the administrator’s reactions and concerns. There was no major panic within the kids, but we made sure to keep them calm and reassure them they are safe outside.

Everybody was a bit concerned about the evacuation until we found out it was not a real threat and that all we had to do was wait for the procedure to be done. My car was actually parked outside of the school and I could leave if I wanted to, but my belongings, such as my bag and ID, were still inside the school building, and we did not have access to enter. Exercise drills occur all the time, but serious ones I cannot think of, other than this story.”