Dutch school to hold school-shooting drill
Next week, on Wednesday, June 13, Alfa College, a Dutch secondary school in Hoogeveen, will be holding a school-shooting drill. During the drill, attacks will be simulated at three different buildings at three different times. These simulated attacks will not be announced in advance.
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According to a letter sent by the school to pupils and parents, informing them about the drill, the exercise is in collaboration with the Dutch police and pupils who are studying the uniformed-professionals course. These students can go on to become security guards, for example.
During the drill, one of the students on this course will play the suspect and act threatening. Pupils have been asked, via the letter, to focus on their own safety during the drill; locking doors and windows, switching the lights off, staying in the room in which they are in and keeping low and away from the door and hiding from sight.
The Alfa College takes its task and responsibility when it comes to social safety very seriously and holding such a drill will allow for improvements to first-aid training and protocols in close consultation with the emergency services.
As this is the first time that a school-shooting drill will be held at the school, the start and finish of the exercises will be announced via the school’s speaker system. This way, it is clear to everyone that the exercise is just a drill. Afterwards, students will have the opportunity to speak to their teachers or Victim Support personnel should they so wish.
Whilst this is the first drill in which a whole school is involved, this is not the first school-shooting drill which has taken place in the Netherlands. In late 2017, the university of applied sciences in Leeuwarden, Stenden, was the first in the country to imitate a school-shooting. However, that drill was organised by the police and only involved students studying integral safety.
Mixed reactions to the exercise
Whilst the police in the north of Netherlands is pleased with the exercise, as it gives them a chance to practice in a realistic setting, not everyone is quite as enthusiastic. President of the General Education Union (AOb), Liesbeth Verheggen, is by no means content with the drill.
She feels that the exercise will only bring panic and does not reflect a real threat. She is also not happy about having students fulfil such a role and questions how teachers could possibly be adequately prepared to speak to the class after the exercise.