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News Opinion & Editorial

The Pulse on Lockdown

Texts from parents flooded Academy high school as teachers locked doors, turned off lights, and shut shades. Students looked around, curious whether the emergency warning signaled a practice. But this was no drill.

Shortly before 9:20 AM on Wednesday, January 17th, the Gahanna police notified an Academy security officer that a burglary suspect might be on our campus’s premises, so taking immediate precaution, administrators placed the school under a lockdown. Police officers were searching for an accused robber, who had possibly been involved in a purse snatching incident at the Christopher Wren apartment complex, off of Morse Road-just a half-mile away.

Following procedure, students dispersed to corners of their rooms, sitting on the floor away and from windows and doors. Though everyone I was with follwed routine just as practiced during drills, I noticed a new pulse. Kids remained still and silent, despite soft whispers. Some teachers stood in front of the doors to protect their students in case of emergency. No one joked around. Everyone knew the situation could be serious.

During the lockdown alert, I happened to be in orchestra class, practicing with my trio for an approaching competition and thinking about an upcoming math test. When the alarm sounded, my classmates and I looked to our music teacher for reassurance that the noise only signaled a drill. As we prepared for playing again, to our surprise, teachers had gotten no warnings or emails about this in advance. My mind raced as I imagined who could be lurking around the school. Did they have guns? What creative maneuver would I make to avoid getting shot? I immediately thought of all the potential places I could hide in the room. The instrument lockers seemed promising. While we gathered behind the piano bench discussing strategy, I felt thankful Academy had procedures in place to protect others and me in the school.

On the heels of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newton, Connecticut, there is no question my worries rose to the surface much more quickly than they may have otherwise. Today, though, the actions which Academy took to prevent harm are just the precautions schools around the nation need to take.

Connie Zhang ’14, who confirmed my own experience, said, “This was the first time I’ve experienced an actual lockdown. It was confusing, being in the dark both literally and information-wise; however, it was good that all the drills paid off and everyone will now know what to do.”

And though the threat did not materialize into anything serious, perhaps the school needed an occurrence such as this. Proof that we are capable of quick organization. Proof that our community is strong enough to come together during a time of short disarray.

Written by Margaret Sutton’14


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