Cal High’s First Lockdown of the 21-22 School Year
Several weeks ago, Cal High experienced its first lockdown of the school year. Usually, schools must practice lockdowns, so they know what to prepare for in case there is ever a real one. Students weren’t quite prepared. However, since teachers are trained to stay calm in these situations, teachers assured us that everything would be fine. An example of such is when this occurred in my sixth-period class. Some of my classmates were a little frightened. Because they were scared, my teacher allowed us to text our parents to let them know we were safe. Let’s see what other students, teachers, and staff members did during this dangerous time.
Natalya, a freshman, stated, “My teacher just told us that sometimes it’s not always a shooter, it’s just a drill, or stuff around the neighborhoods nearby.” In this case, this was not a drill, an actual threat could have been on campus. Natalya stated that her teacher said, “She reassured us that it was probably just in the neighborhood and that we should just stay calm.” It is best to stay calm in a situation like this so it’s a good thing that Natalya’s teacher said what she said. Since her students had to stay calm, Natalya’s teacher accepted her own advice. When asked about how quickly the class was to return to their lesson, Natalya stated, “We were working on the computer on assignments, so she said, “just go back to working on your assignments”.” In addition, Natalya also said that some of her classmates were a little surprised, and others, not so much. She said, “My classmates, they seemed shocked that it happened so early on in the year but other than that, everyone seemed pretty normal.”
Another student at Cal High, Ivy, a senior, had a little different experience than most of us here. She left early but is still considered a credible source. From the comfort of her own home, she was able to see what was happening at the school around the time the lockdown happened. Ivy said, “I went on Instagram, probably less than an hour after I had left around noon, and I saw police officers in front of the school, and people were taking pictures.” Although Ivy wasn’t physically here, she seems to know almost everything that occurred during the time of the lockdown. She also said, “They [police officers], didn’t tell anyone anything.” It is best for the police officers not to tell everyone anything so all the students remain calm and collected at a time like this.
A Cal High freshman, Korina, when asked if she was prepared, she replied with “No, I wasn’t expecting it.” When also asked about reassurance from her teacher, she said, “I don’t know, he kind of scared us. Shutting all the windows, whispering, and we were in the far corner of the school.” This was Korina’s teacher’s way of reassuring his class that everything was going to be okay. Korina also said that the lockdown announcement had scared a few of her classmates. Also, the lesson seemed to have continued smoothly: “Yeah, we were kind of just doing it during the lockdown.”
Teachers are far more prepared than students when it comes down to safety. For example, Mrs. Labry, a freshman/sophomore English teacher, was super prepared for this. She said, “Well, we’re [teachers] well trained. So we knew exactly what to do. I looked outside to see if there were any straggler kids in the halls because class had already started. So, I noticed that there were some kids that were being pulled into the classes on the end, and I noticed the B1 teacher also was pulling kids in. So since I’m in the middle of the row, there weren’t any kids in front of me. My students were inside, I realized that there was nobody else out in the hallway, so I closed the door and it immediately locks.” Mrs. Labry knew her priorities and followed the safety protocols for this situation. This seems like a very serious routine that all teachers must follow. Surprisingly, her students weren’t really frightened. She states, “Since it was a freshman class, I assured them that we were okay, I let them know that this happens occasionally, and nobody was fearful. I made jokes about using the bucket in the back, which serves as a bathroom, so we made jokes about that, and we just went on with our normal lesson.” Even though Mrs. Labry was prepared, she experienced a slight complication: “The only problem was the helicopters overhead were so loud, that they kind of interfered with the lesson, so I just talked louder.” Mrs. Labry also noticed something that caught her eye. She states, “About halfway through, I noticed students were taking out their phones, and it dawned on me that they were trying to contact their parents. So I said, “Okay if you feel the need to talk to your parents, you can take out your phone, let them know you’re safely in a classroom, and that there’s no immediate threat.” So they were able to quickly take care of that and then we just continued with the lesson until the lockdown was clear.”
Ms. Jones, a guidance counselor and assistant principal at Cal, is strict when it comes to student’s safety. Her instincts follow: “My first instinct was to walk out of the building, and get students inside of classrooms.” This is similar to Mrs. Labry’s instinct. Now, protocols follow: “We don’t have necessarily zones that each person is responsible for because, in that moment, you don’t know exactly where you’re going to be at the time. Wherever we’re at, we’re communicating via radio to clear certain zones.” Ms. Jones was “very prepared.” As an assistant principal, she has to be. She said, “Part of that is we’re in constant communication with our SRO at the time, so she talks to me, about transitioning to a lockdown, I talk to security to let them know, and then I get on the intercom to explain to staff, students, anyone who may be on campus.” Communication is key in a situation like this. She also adds, “And, we have this type of practice. We’ve done some drills to this effect before.”
In conclusion, preparedness is super important when it comes down to people’s safety. Protocols and routines are essential in situations like this. As Mrs. Labry said, “We’re just trained to do these things.” Now, you have a little more insight about everything that happens when a lockdown occurs at Cal High.