Throughout AP testing week, three fire alarms were pulled by students on May 6, 7, and 8. Due to these incidents, the school has taken stricter procedures to prevent students from pulling the fire alarm.
Prior to the AP European History test and during the AP Physics 1 test and AP Physics 2 test, fire alarms disrupted AP tests and students’ work time. Many students were worried that their score would get cancelled; however, Principal Steven Musto sent an email clarifying that student’s score would not get cancelled.
“Pulling the fire alarm during testing is disruptive especially for those who have studied hard for their respective tests,” AP Physics 1 student Leepakshi Johar (12) said. “The learning environment is no longer intact for that period of time, which creates a hindrance for the teachers, staff, and as well as the students. Maybe when someone pulls a fire alarm it might be for a real cause and firefighters are needed, but the constant pulling of fire alarms without a reason becomes a hindrance to the fire fighters, especially when they receive multiple calls during an emergency.”
To prevent these incidents from happening again, Mr. Musto has implemented new procedures in school.
“First, we have asked teachers to have students sign out whenever they leave the classroom,” Musto said. “Should this happen again, administration will get the names of all students who were let out of class in order to help identify who did this. Second, we are purchasing indication materials that will deter people from pulling the alarms unless absolutely necessary. Third, we are looking to purchase technology that can capture a picture of who is pulling the alarm. If all goes as planned, those will be in place in the fall.”
Many teachers have been implementing some of their own strategies to deter students from pulling the fire alarm and expressed their concerns over students and the fire department neglecting fire alarms in the near future.
“I am concerned that not only is it taking away from class time, but about the ‘boy who called wolf’ scenario,” English teacher Ms. Conlon said. “They won’t take the fire alarm seriously because they have been pulled so many times, so if there is ever an actual fire, students would not react the proper way. After they first started getting pulled, I had the students write about what they thought the results of pulling the fire alarm were and we had a class discussion.”
Apart from the negative impact fire alarms has caused, the district is forced to pay the Fremont Fire Department a fee for each pull. An innocent prank can also impact places that are actually experiencing a life threatening situation. Therefore, any students participating in these pulls will face repercussions from the school, the Fremont Police Department, and the Fremont Fire Department.
“A fire alarm pull may seem like just a prank, but it is an action that directly impacts every single person on this campus,” Musto said. “Every person needs to drop what they are doing and evacuate. How many total instructional minutes are lost for no reason? Additionally, think of the wasted time of the Fremont Fire Department. I am the one who must meet them in Gateway when they arrive and it is, quite frankly, embarrassing to tell them that some of our students want to act careless and waste their time.”