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State superintendent joins students in earthquake drill

October 15, 2009 | 12:20 pm

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell joined a group of Los Angeles teachers and students this morning in the Great California Shake Out, a statewide earthquake drill that had O’Connell and others seeking cover under tables and desks.

Watching the superintendent dive under a table “was fun to see,” said Lance Webster, spokesman for Earthquake Country Alliance, a statewide organization that serves as a clearinghouse for various groups that provide earthquake information and services. “You don’t always expect to see the big wigs jump under a table when there’s a drill.”

More than 100 students from Lenicia B. Weemes Elementary School participated in the drill at the California Science Center's Wallis Annenberg Building for Science Learning and Innovation. They were among more than 6.8 million people – including 4 million students -- who participated in the drill statewide.

A simulated 7.8 earthquake was announced at 10:15 a.m., prompting participants to duck under tables and desks for the two-minute drill, Webster said.

Before the drill, the students engaged in earthquake education projects with the help of student teachers who explained earthquake dynamics, he said.

Afterward, the students were allowed to walk through the Shakey Quakey Schoolhouse – a converted truck used as a quake simulator that resembles a shaking red schoolhouse.

--Raja Abdulrahim

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