Understanding school security


(George Granchi)

George Granchi, Contributing Writer

What’s going on?

You are sitting in class, bored out of your mind when you hear over the PA, “Everyone go into lockdown. Everyone go into lockdown.” Your mind starts to race: Is this a drill? Is something actually happening out there? What is going on?

“I get scared,” said junior Camron Dolson. “I don’t know what is going on and if something is actually happening where my life is in danger.”

Schools across the country practice safety drills because they want to be prepared if a threatening event were actually to happen. At Walsh Jesuit, we go into “place and secure” when the administration hears about a threat nearby or we have a medical emergency and need the hallways cleared. The school goes into “lockdown” when there is an immediate threat.

For senior Alex Haag, the difference between the two is easy to spot. “We go into a ‘lockdown’ when the guy is on the premises. We go into ‘place and secure’ when [administrators] hear about something in the area.”

The same is true for junior Hannah Bunder. To her, “place and secure” means “we just sit and go in our classes like normal, except we lock the door and no one can leave or come in.” She added, “When we go into ‘lockdown,’ we hide behind a wall where you can’t be seen from the doorway. We turn off the lights and lock the doors.”

Some students going through drill after drill find them as annoying and unnecessary, but for the teachers and staff, going through the drills is extremely helpful so they know what to do if something actually happens.

The more you train, the better you will react in any situation. You do things without thinking based on your training”

— Mr. Bob Chase

Dean of Students Mr. Gerry Rardin, who has been at Walsh Jesuit for 41 years, explained, “They might seem mundane and unnecessary but, heaven forbid something happens, we will have a clue on what to do.” In response to students’ complaints, he said, “ It doesn’t bug me that people think they are unnecessary. A little preparedness will go a long way.”

Security guard Mr. Bob Chase agrees with Mr. Rardin. “The more you train, the better you will react in any situation. You do things without thinking based on your training,” he said.

So, just like a fire or tornado drill, a state mandated security drill aims to keep the students safe.