What Was Up With the Lockdown?

IRHS left puzzled and annoyed

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Jay L. Clendenin

On October 16th, the Indian River District had a school lockdown. Although details were not published, according to the Watertown Daily Times,  there was a shooting threat allegedly made by Caleb J. Larson against Evans Mills Primary School.  So why did it affect the other Indian River Schools so much?  During second period, here at the high school, the lockdown took place from 8:40- 9:45 am.

According to the Watertown Daily Times coverage, the district’s school resource officer contacted 911 to involve sheriff’s deputies and state police. They determined the threat “could possibly involve other schools” so the Superintendent put all eight other IR buildings into lockdown.  No one in law enforcement or in IR administration has yet clarified a reason, other than paranoia, for securing any building other than Evans Mills Primary.

As a result, 900-plus students at IRHS were stuck in second period.  Students took the extra 65 minutes to do homework, read, and text; so why all the complaining? Some teachers, as it became clear the lockdown was continuing, stopped teaching and let the students do whatever they wanted, as long as it was school related.

When asked what he thought about the lockdown, Zachary Stone replied, “It was pointless and over-exaggerated.”  Many other students, asked the same question, replied in a similar way.

Another student [who asked to remain anonymous] was asked what he did during the lockout and replied, “I was texting, on Facebook, and checking out Newzjunky trying to find out what was going on.”

Cody Draper, another IRHS students commented, “Me and my friends were ticked off because our teacher wasn’t telling us what was going on.”

But none of the teachers really knew what was going on either. “There was no mass email or phone call to any of the teachers [explaining anything],” said Mrs. Pollock.

Locally, Channel 7 News was reporting that the lockdown was over while it was still in effect.

Coincidentally the PSAT started at 7:30 and was supposed to end at the end of fifth period (11:23am). Christina Clinch, a Junior at Indian River, was taking the PSATs when the Principal, Mr. Decker, came on the announcements saying we were under lockdown.

When asked what happened while the PSAT was already started and then the lockdown was initiated, Clinch replied, “The lights in the LGI (Large Group Instruction) room were not turned off, [and] the teacher was flipping out because there was no lock on the LGI’s doors. Also, we did not get a break at the normal time since we weren’t allowed to go out into the hallways, so when the lockdown ended we got a break which eventually made us late to fifth period.”

Although schools have a responsibility to take student safety seriously, many students and staff felt the situation could have been handled in a less disruptive way.