El Segundo High School

Commentary: Lockdown surprise at El Segundo High School

Last week at El Segundo High School as students and teachers engaged in learning during fifth period, an announcement was spoken over the loud speaker.

“Attention all students and faculty. Lock your doors. We are in lock down.”

Teachers quickly locked the doors and closed the window blinds. As the students scurried to the back of the classrooms as far from the door as possible, they viewed out the window and saw masses of police running throughout the school. And, teachers quickly checked their email for any updates, yet there were none.

In the AP Art history classroom, students hurried to the photography dark room. For a moment everyone was joking around with nervous tension. But as the moments progressed, fear began to rise exponentially.

In those moments the classroom went from a loud, rowdy room, to complete silence due to fear. Students frantically texted their parents

“We are in lockdown, there are police everywhere.  I love you,” as students heard the police running, terror grew and grew.

The teachers did not know what was going on, and as the minutes passed they received no updates. Stress mounted as students hugged each other in fear. Suddenly, disparate students all became friends, a family, as they all held each other tightly.

Alarmed parents rushed out of their offices and homes, and raced toward the school that housed their babies in lockdown. Many tears were shed.

Then, the announcements came on, and somehow, the silence grew even quieter as everyone eagerly waited for the announcement…

“Students and faculty, thank you for participating in our lock down drill. You may all go back to class.”

Everyone’s stomachs dropped. A drill?  The teachers said there was no plan of a drill. The ASB president knew of no drill. The counselors knew of no drill. Nobody knew it was a drill!

And then, anger ensued.

If this truly was a drill, it was not a good idea. A planned and communicated drill is one thing. But, to terrify an entire community of students, faculty, and parents at home, by having all parties believe a shooter was on campus and a mass of police running up and down the halls throughout the school, is quite another.  And if it was a drill, not immediately emailing the teachers and parents with updates was a huge mistake.  Students have a right to feel safe at school, and parents trust that the authorities at the school will safeguard their children.

This was a flagrant violation of trust, and truly reckless behavior in the part of El Segundo High School.