Posted Date: 03/30/2022
By: Alice Bathurst
A crisis situation could hit our district’s schools at any point in time. On Monday February 21, the teachers and staff of USD 435 took part in the RICO drill to prepare.
Senior Braden Adams describes RICO as “the process of reunifying all of the students [ . . . ] with their parents” in a case of emergency that requires the evacuation of a school building.
Within this drill, the teachers pretended to be the students, and high school students volunteered to go through the process and act as the parents picking up their kids. The “parents” had to go through a process that asked for information about themselves and their relationship with their kids. Then they were sent to Check-In and showed their ID to verify their identification. Then they were sent to another station where they waited to be called to go pick up their student. When a parent’s name is called, they go to the reunification room where they will meet their student and sign out. Once reunited with their student(s), they are free to leave with them. To cover all the bases, parents were given unique and realistic situations to act out. Sophomore, Claira Dannefer was a divorced parent who picked up her kids and had not communicated with her ex-spouse, which created complications when the ex-spouse was there also to pick up the kids. Kaleb Becker, a senior, was playing a parent who could only speak Spanish. With all these different circumstances, everyone involved was able to prepare for anything that could happen in a real situation.
Before the students were able to reunite with their parents, they also went through a process. They were taken from their “school” or starting location, then taken to a safer building where their parents would come get them. Mr. Meneley, AMS Science teacher, participated as a student during the RICO drill.
He said, “It made me realize that there is a lot of situations that I need to have a backpack packed with more stuff, maybe some board games, or something to keep them occupied.”
Meneley used this drill as a learning opportunity to see the situation through a students eyes. Hopefully this drill has well prepared us all for any unexpected situation that may come.