TCHS Rampage

Temple City High School


April 17, 2017

Locking down a procedure

In light of the recent shooting at North Park Elementary School in San Bernardino—which claimed the lives of a student and a teacher—and our own recent lockdown,  it is more important than ever for Temple City students and teachers alike to fully understand what to do in the event of a schoolwide lockdown.
On Wednesday March 22, a male voice announced a lockdown during third period. In the approximately 30 minutes that followed, there were many different reactions amongst teachers and students.
What concerned me as a student was the lack of consistency in procedure among the different classes. Many teachers continued their lessons as if nothing was amiss.
This could be due to the fact that, in the past, lockdown drills have mostly consisted of simply making sure the campus could be locked and secure in a short amount of time. In past years, Temple City High School has held at least one emergency drill each month. This year, the drills have not been as frequent.
I was informed by Dr. Lashier that this most recent lockdown will be considered a drill. Lockdown drills are put in place for practice, and as with any kind of practice, we afterwards we must make sure we fix our mistakes,. So when we face the real thing, we won’t fail.
Of course, the entire procedure does not have to be rewritten. Certain things stated in the official emergency preparedness pocket book—which is found in every classroom—could still work, provided the policy is practiced and followed.
However, I believe the official procedure is still lacking. One thing to consider is the fact that students and teachers both need to be kept in the loop.
One of the reasons why so many rumors started during the 30 minute lockdown was because neither students nor teachers received information explaining the need for the lockdown in real time.
This could easily have been achieved via either the school P.A. system, or in the event more secrecy and danger is involved, authorities should keep teachers up to date through email and text.
For example, last month’s lockdown was a response to a local burglary. If students and teachers had been informed of this at the time, students’ fears could have been alleviated and teachers’ lessons continued.
On the other hand, if there were an on-campus threat near the 100 buildings such as a heavily-armed active shooter, classes on the opposite side of school in the 400-500 building could then be notified discreetly via email or text, as to the threat’s location and how they should evacuate.
Lack of information will lead to fear, which depending on the situation, could be unnecessary.
If teachers themselves communicate with their students and keep them updated on the situation, that could alleviate any unfounded speculation. Additionally, if teachers are unable to call the front office in order to keep phone lines open, then they should be required to routinely check their emails or phones for communication through other means. Any information regarding the lockdown situation should be shared with teachers, who can then hold conversations with their class.
In the case of no information being available, my view is that we’re better safe than sorry.
If the only information given to us is that we need to go on lockdown, we should prepare for the worst case scenario.
We do not want to be caught off guard in a dangerous situation, because we assumed nothing was seriously wrong.
The San Bernardino school district stated that due to its recent shooting, it will review its lockdown policies. San Bernardino had to learn its lesson in blood.
Since the beginning of 2017, the U.S. has already suffered through 12 school shootings. Since 2013, there have been over 200. Temple City High School, fortunately, has time to reevaluate its policies.
It’s a shame teachers and students must focus on anything other than education. It isn’t pleasant to think about, but it is necessary if we want our students and staff safe.
Our lockdown exposed the weaknesses in our procedure. If we at Temple City High School want to keep our students safe, we need to take the time we have now to revisit our own policies and begin training teachers and students alike.

About the Author

Charlie Dodge



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