Article by Robert Merrick
With the recent social media threats targeting Santa Rosa High School, culminating in the on-campus arrest, an air of worry has developed regarding what the school considers enough of a threat to enter lockdown.
According to SRHS’s safety director Andy Brennan, “lockdown is a pretty traumatic situation for a lot of people, especially with everything we’ve seen on the news and the shootings.” To allow for more flexibility, the lockdown structure is broken into two different levels; the first is known as shelter in place, it allows for teachers to continue instruction after closing blinds and locking doors as a way to precaution if a potentially dangerous person is on campus, such as someone who is homeless.
The second level, or “lockdown”, is only used when there is an active shooter on campus or some other immediate danger, and causes “run-hide-fight.” Run-hide-fight is fairly self-explanatory; either students attempt to leave, potentially off campus, and get to a safe place (run), try to get into a classroom(hide) or (worst case scenario), there is fight. Fight is considered the last resort as it directly puts students in the line of fire, however, as a last ditch effort, it is better than doing nothing.
Alongside lockdown there are several other disasters that Brennan, as SRHS’s safety director, has to prepare for. In the event of an emergency such as a major earthquake or fire, the school has storage containers full of food and medical supplies. Brennan has also instituted task groups so that in the event of a natural disaster, teachers can quickly account for students in order to distribute resources to recover any trapped students or any missing students.
Brennan wants to assure students that “the chances of [an active shooter] happening to us are very small… So don’t let it be something that occupies your mind.” He also said that students should “look at the training as a way to help make [you] safer and less afraid of something that might happen. [The goal is] don’t be scared, be prepared.” While disaster drills can sometimes feel unnecessary, in a real emergency, the practice will be valued and the drills are a way to help give peers, parents and teachers a sense of safety.