By: Faith Burton, The Charter News
Fresh on the heals of our safety trainings, ACA experienced a real lock out. It was not our first and it probably won’t be our last. Due to the closeness of training week, students and classes had confusion about if it was a real “lock out or a drill”.
Journalism class had just started when Nic Chapin came on over the loudspeaker.
“We are now in lockout, please follow protocol,” he said.
The class followed safety protocol, and continued as normal. Even though Journalism students kept calm and reacted correctly, students started to question if the lockout was real, or if it was a drill. Luckily, a student had been in the hallway just before Mr. Chapin came on the loudspeaker. That student was me the author. I was walking down the hall to go use the bathroom when Nic and Jill came speed walking out of their office towards the front doors stating “Quick! Lock the doors, no one goes in or out.” I calmly turned around forgetting that I needed to use the bathroom and came back to Journalism class. A minute later Nic came on the loud speaker telling us we were in lockout. That’s the only way I knew it was real, otherwise I would’ve been confused on if the lockout was a drill or not. If the situation had occurred deeper into the school year I think we would’ve not had any question on if it was real or not. But because of the timing, (it being within a week or two of drills) many students probably found it hard to reason the credibility of the situation. The only reason I knew it was real was because I was in the hallway.
Is there a better way to communicate emergency situations when we are in or could be near drill week? Jill Mohr, ACA administrator commented on this question saying, “All students, staff and parents whether you are in a class, in the hallway or anywhere in school should take any situation very seriously whether it is a drill or the real thing.” It’s important for us to take drills seriously so we know what to do in emergency situations along with learning on how to act appropriately.
Later that day an email was sent out confirming that the lockout was real. “A lock out occurs when a potential threat or hazard is reported outside in the surrounding area. When a lockout occurs, the perimeter of the building is secured, entry to and exit from the building is not permitted. Classes and instruction continue as normal.” Nic Chapin, stated in an email sent out to all ACA families.
When interviewed about what specifically happened, Jill Mohr stated that she could not give anything further than what was stated in the email sent by Mr. Chapin. “Local authorities responded to the report, walked the premises and determined there was no threat to our students, staff or the building.” Mrs. Mohr also said that for further information review our safety protocols in the family handbook.
Should ACA consider if there is a better way to communicate an emergency situations “realness” in close proximity to drill week without creating fear, or chaos in students? Even though some were confused, students, staff, and parents did and should react as if it is real, to remain calm and believe that our staff have been trained to protect us and keep us safe in any potentially harmful situation.
Mohr, Jill. Personal Interview. Sep 25, 2017
Chapin, Nic. Personal Email Interview. Sep 18, 2017
Photo, I Love You Guys, Safety Protocol