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Taft Today

Taft Today

Don’t Make A Sound

Janel Limardo & Carmen Ramirez
Empty classroom at Taft high school.

Turn off the lights, lock the doors, hide and don’t make a sound. These instructions are known by all students in the American school system. An active shooter drill is set in place when there’s a direct danger to the students or campus.  

American students are desensitized to active shooter lockdowns. There is no longer a sense of shock when they hear it on the news and there is no fear when students practice them. School shootings have become normalized. That in itself is a tragedy.  

According to The San Diego Union-Tribune, the first modern school shooting happened in 1979 by Brenda Spencer otherwise known as the ‘I hate Mondays killer.’ In 1979 Spencer entered an elementary school armed with a .22 rifle which she ended up firing 36 rounds of  and  took the lives of two people and injured nine others.     

Since the reintroduction of active shooters in school it is now a well known drill all around the world. According to Everytown Research and Policy, 95% of American public schools educate their students on lockdown procedures.   Children in America are taught about active school shooter drills at a young age to teach kids order and procedure in order to keep them safe. 

Shane Rose, Taft junior, was in first grade at Hitch Elementary when he experienced his first lockdown drill. Rose addressed the importance of the lockdown but expressed some distrust for them.

“I think it’s good to know what to do if we were ever in that situation but I kinda feel like it’s a little useless because I dont think a lot of the students are going to follow protocol, ” said Rose.

Sofia Crivellone, Taft junior, went to Wildwood Elementary and was seven years old when she experienced her first lockdown drill. “I think I was in second grade when I first started practicing active school shooter threats,” said Crivellone. 

Crivellone went on to explain the safety hazards of not following the protocol: “I think what we practice is what is going to keep us safe but there is a big risk factor of students not doing what they are told and putting others lives in jeopardy.” 

Anouar Elmels, Taft junior, expressed the need for change to the protocol taught to students. “Lock down drills are helpful but it should get changed up once and a while, because if it’s the same routine over and over, the likelihood of the shooter knowing the routine is high.”

Students from three different elementary schools were chosen so readers can see the similarities between the American public schools’ lockdown protocol and how each student feels about them now. 

“When we first started practicing lockdowns I was probably about six. I was scared at first because I have never been in a situation like this, but now it’s just kinda like autopilot,¨ said Rose. 

¨…When the drill is announced I just know to stand away from the doors and windows, and to stay quiet until teachers tell us it’s clear,¨ said Crivellone.

¨The all clear from the teachers is really important, because here at Taft there is a code phrase that the teachers know when we go on lockdown, we are not supposed to leave even when we hear the all clear on the announcement,¨ said Elmels.

Rose  then elaborated on the importance of high schools using a code word.

 ¨In case of an emergency where our principal is forced to say we can come out the teachers will be able to know he didn’t say the code word so they will know not to let us come out of hiding.¨

Having a code word does help students at Taft feel safer. But they do feel like having one is normal and it shouldn’t have to be. School shootings are a tragedy no one should have to endure but students in America are starting to be desensitized  to lockdowns and it shows.

To most students it’s not a far off worry but it’s something they prepare and plan for. Hopefully no kid ever has to go through another school shootings but if worse comes to worse Taft students do have a plan. 

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About the Contributors
Janel Limardo
Janel Limardo, Reporter
Carmen Ramirez
Carmen Ramirez, Reporter