Changes in Kansas law would reduce number of required emergency school drills

WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) Changes involving the number of safety drills in schools in Kansas could soon be on the way.

This week, changes to the law requiring 16 emergency drills were introduced in Topeka. This is the first year for that number of drills, and schools say it's is too high.

Dr. Cory Gibson, Superintendent for USD 262, says too many emergency exercises take away from class time and potentially cause students unwarranted stress.

"There's been a lot of discussion around if you look at the school days, the number of drills required between tornadoes, crisis, and fire is once every two weeks," said Gibson.

The change would take the total number of drills from 16 to 9, a majority of those would focus on crisis situations. Right now, the law requires schools to do nine crisis drills a year, the proposal lowers that number to three.

The new law could change at the end of this school year. Dr. Gibson says he is confident that schools will be prepared either way.

"Regardless of what the mandate is, there are a lot of conversations happening behind closed doors. Staff talking about 'what if' scenarios, and tabletop exercises. Just because it is a mandate, doesn't mean people won't do more. It's possible in certain situations, there might be different crisis plans," said Gibson.