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Precautionary Lock down- How 20 Minutes Changed My Perspective of Life
April 15th, 2015, I walked into my first period math class on my first day back from spring break, excited to see my friends and prepared to fall back into the rhythm of school. However, I was in for a surprise. About 15 minutes into our school day, the PA system crackled to life with a message from the secretary.
“Good morning students and staff, welcome back to school. I hope you all had a wonderful break. Now, I would like all teachers to check their email at this time. Please, all teachers must check their emails now. Thank you.”
To understand the panic I started to feel with this message, you have to know a little about my school’s safety procedures. We are instructed to use common sense in any situation. If the fire alarm sounds but no smoke is seen, we go to lock down mode. If there’s a fire, we evacuate. If we are walking on campus and there is a gunshot, we run for the town and call the police. We had just changed the entire system a few months before, and hadn't properly ran through all the drills. This is the main reason for the misunderstanding that followed.
Our teacher is a kind, timid Canadian man who is always just a little confused. He checked his email, and hadn't even notified our class of what it said before another teacher burst through the door.
“This isn't a drill, you need to get your kids against the wall or hidden and pull the shades. Lock your door,” she said frantically. Our teacher instructed half the class to hide in a storage room, while the other half huddled in a sheltered corner. I pressed my way into the tightly packed room- another class was already there- and sat against a wall, huddled next to a few friends.
I never really understood confusion and panic until I was sitting on the floor of what is basically a closet, with no information about how big the threat was and why I was in a lock down. However, I spent my energy comforting a friend whose sister was still in the classroom, and going on the internet to try to find more information.
About 15 minutes in, a teacher notified us that we were in a “precautionary lock down.” We still were unsure of what the threat was, so though we weren't as worried, it was still unclear. 5 minutes later, we saw the lights from our classroom flicker back on, and the door to the room was opened, and we were told our teacher had misinterpreted the email. We were meant to continue classroom activity, as the threat seemed very minor. Relief washed over me. Most people had not been phased at all, but the whole event really turned over a new leaf for me. I was able to recognize the people I truly love by the people I first worried about. I was grateful to be alive, instead of miserable with the life I live. I was immeasurably thankful that it wasn't serious, and couldn't help but think of how different everything would have gone if it was. I have never been so happy for something not to happen. In 20 minutes of fear, I finally learned to be brave.
I later learned our threat was a student who had threatened to bring a gun to school. He was feeling attacked, and resorted to violence to solve it. This kid had already brought a knife to school before, so it was custom to search just in case there was a firearm on our campus. I talked to some of my friends about the ordeal. Most said he should be expelled, or at least suspended. They felt uncomfortable with him on campus. Others said what he did was wrong, but they understood. This group of friends has been through more pain, and somehow that helped them see eye to eye with this obviously troubled kid. They said they knew he was dealing with stuff, not to mention bullies sending him death threats.
My personal opinion is he should be put into a program that can keep him safe from bullies, help him resolve his own issues, and keep everyone else safe as well.
Heck, maybe they should lock him in a closet for 20 minutes.