Lockdown provokes shock, calls for serious approach

Photo Illustration

Photo Illustration

John Park, Columnist

“We are now on a hard lockdown.” The weight of Principal Lauren Fagel’s words immediately froze the school atmosphere. The next instant, I could see the genuine terror in some of the students’ eyes as they rushed behind a science lab desk.

This lockdown was a very much needed wake-up-call for our school as a whole.

Living in the North Shore, we rarely feel the fear of danger to our lives. But especially in the context of recent school shootings and terrorist acts, Fagel’s announcement struck fear into me.

There was no time to care about the Cubs’ playoff run or your Snap Streak that was going to die soon. Yes, some of us were able to find hints of humor in the midst of the panic, saying funny last words and speculating on a clown assault, but we all had a degree of anxiety in us.

The panic of that day opened my eyes to how devastating and horrifying a crisis could be. Being placed in a position where a gunman might have been inside the school struck the same fear in us as the hundreds of schools that suffered tragic shootings. I hope that this experience allows our school to recognize the true seriousness of an emergency procedure.

In addition, I hope that the lockdown urges students to take emergency drills more seriously. Drills aren’t simply saviors from a boring class or opportunities for shorter periods. They are a critical form of preparation for a real-life threat.

Especially considering the new lockdown procedures that will be regulated, I believe that students must pay attention during drills and not take it as a joke. In my opinion, the lockdown was beneficial in that students will recognize that a situation where “This is not a drill” is true can be a very real possibility.

Aside from the students, I see the lockdown as an exigency for more preparation and training for the whole school, including teachers and staff.

According to Fagel, the administration realized that the intercom system needed upgrades. These included better amplification in the gym and fieldhouse as well as the need for speakers outside. In addition, Fagel noted that more efforts need to be taken to inform protocol to students who happen to be outside a classroom.

I am personally grateful that we were able to discover these faults in our protocol and infrastructure. In my opinion, we will more prepared as a whole school in the event of a threat.

The lockdown that GBS experienced was frightening and potentially tragic, but there are many things we should take away from it. It served as a discussion starter for creating a safer environment and the fear we felt should be translated to regarding the possibility of a crisis with more gravity.