Lehman campus takes steps to stop surprise ‘fire drills’


Christopher Montanez

Three false alarms in one week keeps students out in the cold.

During the week of Dec. 12, three prank fire-alarm pulls  on the Lehman Campus sent students and staff outside in the cold, often without their jackets or coats.  The alarms happened around 6th period and brought back memories of last year, when the campus experienced five pulled alarms in 20 days in November and December.

Principal Greg Fucheck views the alarms as a safety concern. “It’s not necessary and a shame that a small group of students choose to disrupt everyone’s learning. I am very proud that no Bronx River student has pulled the fire alarm,” he said.

Steps are being taken to combat the issue: “We  are sending home a letter to families on why it’s dangerous to be pulling the fire alarm like this. I met with the chief of the fire department to ensure that fines are imposed on whoever pulls it. I have worked hard to get Bronx River to be able to evacuate to the field so that we can get back inside quickly so our students don’t lose too much instructional time.”

This is a big improvement from last year, when students had to go through scanning after each evacuation, and could end up outside in the cold for 2 or more hours.

Those who pull alarms face stiff consequences, Mr. Fucheck added: “A superintendent suspension. “A superintendent suspension is a longer suspension and they go to an alternate school for the duration of their suspension.”

Even though some people don’t mind the evacuations because they get a break from learning, the fire evacuations take a toll on the school community. The school staff has to make sure the students are safe as they exit and enter the building and while on the football field. Most important, the staff has to make sure that the building is safe to enter back into even if there wasn’t a real fire happening.

Margaret Malloy, assistant principal, calls false alarms disruptive and unnecessary.  “The false alarms need to stop because it’s a safety issue and impedes classroom instruction and I hope we don’t have anymore.”

Harold Garcia, the student council president, agrees.  “I feel like the fire drills are unnecessary because it gives kids the opportunity to act like fools. But it also shows how Bronx River knows how to follow rules and not engage in these activities.”

And of course, there’s the cold factor. “I feel kind of happy because I want to get out of class,” Angelina Torres said. “But at the same time, I believe it is too cold for these stupid activities and I don’t want to keep going outside anymore.”

Overall, fire drills may or may not be the worst case scenario to most. Nevertheless, it is immature that some students tend to constantly pull the fire alarm deliberately knowing how dangerous it can be. These pointless fire drills are a way to cause chaos and unnecessary tension between students. Now that there is a punishment being implemented, there may not be as many fire drills.