School Security in the 1950s
|At age 9, I was toting my capgun. Couldn't take it to school, though.|
The primary grades had doors that opened onto patios, where the sun beat mercilessly on us if we did activities out there. (Sunscreen hadn't been invented and no one wore hats except in winter.) There were no trees to speak of, except a few saplings out front—nothing to hide behind. In front of the school was the main door. We lined up in front of it every morning while we waited to go in. There was also a back door, at least one side door, and the cafeteria door. Nobody monitored those doors.
I don't remember an intercom in those days. Any messages for teachers were hand-delivered from the office. We had an occasional fire drill, though, indicated by a loud blast of sound. During these drills, we lined up, walked in a line out the nearest door, and stood out in the open—close enough to be in the way of any firetrucks if the school did catch fire. It never did. We didn't do tornado drills—it would be two decades before anything like a tornado would touch down in the area, and even then it only peeled the roof off part of Westside Elementary, about five miles away. Despite an air raid siren which sounded from the school's roof every Saturday at noon, we didn't do any disaster drills, even though airplanes from nearby Woodrum Field flew low and close to the school. I guess if a plane were to hit the school, it would be too late to warn anyone.
If we had to exit the school suddenly (and we never did), we'd have had to go through the halls. We wouldn't have fitted through the windows that were hinged at the bottom and pushed open, no doubt a safety feature to keep any kid—no matter how small—from falling out. The only place to hide in the classrooms were the wooden coat closets—one for boys and one for girls—which weren't at all secure and wouldn't have held everyone. If we got outside, we'd have no place to hide so we'd have to run for home.
|This is how Huff Lane, now closed, looked recently. It didn't look like this in the 50s. |
(I found this pic on the Internet, but I don't remember where.)