Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Snoozing, Snacking And Tweeting: What Really Happens In A High School Lockdown

By Natalie Tarrant
Junior Reporter
ARLINGTON, Texas, U.S.A. – We were in the middle of first period, about 9 a.m., and reading aloud the first pages of Romeo and Juliet, (Act 1, Scene 1: “Do you bite your thumb at us, sir?/ I do bite my thumb, sir.”)
Just then, a voice from the intercom announced: The lockdown drill had started.
Our teacher gathered us up into a little group (it was a fairly small class) and put us in a corner of the room away from the door. She covered up the door's window with some paper and sat down with us.
After that, we managed to stretch out into more comfortable positions, whispering quietly to one another in a relaxed way. I even managed to lie down and take a quick nap.
So basically I didn't know how much time had passed, but the lights were kept on and the teacher herself was even joking in a hushed voice with the class.
After a while, I got kicked in the back by the girl next to me and told to sit up. When I asked why, she said that someone, somewhere, had a gun.
The rest of the class heard this and instantly broke out into an almost synchronized groan.
Lamar High School, Arlington, Texas
I looked around at everyone to see if they were joking, but they weren't. A couple of kids got out their phones. Even more did some impressive army crawls under the desks to their backpacks for food. At the worst, the whole room seemed no more than slightly annoyed by the whole thing.
Here's what we were hearing at first from a teacher – that three armed men had broken into our school. That turned out to be wrong. In reality, a student had told a school security officer that he heard another student might have brought a gun to school.
We could hear the muffled sounds of helicopters buzzing overhead. We heard cops walking down the hallways with radios reporting every single thing. And we were on twitter joking about it.
Phones were passed around with pictures of Lamar from the outside surrounded by police cars. People swapped stories of past lockdowns (which, they said, were waay scarier and waaay cooler than this one), shared food, and texted their friends in other rooms.
After about three hours, the biggest complaint was our lack of bathroom breaks. I found out later that some other classrooms had allowed kids to go into a closet so they could pee in a cup – yet another thing joked about.
Our teacher was kind enough to allow the phones, and we were told to keep any talking down to a dull roar.
In our three-hour lockdown, the mood of the room shifted from somewhat bothered and uncomfortable to sleepy, to silently giddy, and back to just plain uncomfortable. When the principal himself looked in and told us it was okay, everyone was on their feet in a second, bolting for the restrooms. 
Editor’s note: Authorities found no one with a gun, or any gun, after searching the school, and students were released.


Anonymous said...

great article, it's nice to know what's happening from the horse's mouth!

Ashley Liu said...

A very realistic article, this is exactly what's wrong with the school security systems these days. Repeated drills and underestimated dangers in a lockdown can only bring confusion and discomfort instead of true protection.

Anonymous said...

Great, Great article. Coming from a British prospective, it's fascinating to hear about school lock downs from a students mouth, and what you guys think about them.