Safety of students is a concern that all staff have when a lockdown occurs, but students having the same level of urgency is a concern.
Drills should be taken seriously regardless of student opinion.
“You know, lockdowns are called for various reasons,” Principal Chris Farabee said. “Not all lockdowns, in a majority of lockdowns, do not happen because of something on your campus. Schools are put on lockdown for a variety of reasons, most of which are because something in the neighboring area has caused a school full of children to go on lockdown.”
During a lockdown, every person on campus has the same role.
“Everybody’s role is to seek cover and shelter,” Farabee said. “That is no different for the teachers and the students as it is for all the staff and you know, that we have here on campus. So during that time, everybody goes into lockdown, including administration, security, everybody, and the police and eventually, potentially, the fire department takes over.”
With the lockdown drills, changes to the classroom are discussed from the administration and between the teacher of the classroom.
“And for the drills, our administrative team does participate and we take notes,” Farabee said. “And if it’s identified through P. C. S. O. and our administration that some of our classes could be more secure, we then individually meet with that classroom teacher.”
Farabee is confident with the school’s safety during a lockdown and is positive with how the students are treating a lockdown.
“P. C. S. O. has reported that the students have been taking it very seriously,” Farabee said. “With 1,400 kids, you’re going to always have students that potentially don’t take it as a serious precautionary drill. But I would say the majority of our students are seeing the seriousness of why we practice this.”
The school gets Rural Metro Fire Department involved for improved safety and to ensure everybody is in good standing.
“So we want all the emergency responders to be familiar with our building and where any potential crisis that arises, that they’re familiar with the building and the personnel,” Farabee said. “So we thought it was important. Rural Metro does not come onto the scene unless P. C. S. O. allows them to, but we wanted to incorporate all the emergency responders into our practice drills.”
But what exactly are the expectations that security wishes to see during a drill lockdown?
“We want them to remain out of sight. Lights off. Quiet, no cell phones out. Nobody’s to be texting or calling, anybody you know,” Security Guard Vince but we don’t want to go overboard or scare anybody.”
All these expectations have stayed mostly the same all throughout student years.
“We will do one unannounced lockdown per semester,” Farabee said. “In addition to just the lockdown procedures you see, the review of the procedures goes out to our faculty to make sure they’re aware. So, at any school, not just our school, they’re important for everybody to be familiar with these procedures. And they shouldn’t have changed for themselves from middle school or elementary school. These procedures are similar no matter what building or what school you’re attending.”
To ensure campus safety, all the security guards partner with deputies from the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office when they arrive at the high school.
“So they come on board,” Jordan said. “We just go through all the hallways, make sure all doors are locked, windows are covered and monitor the bathrooms; make sure everybody’s out or if they’re in there, remain in place because we don’t want anybody to run out of any room they’re in.”
When Jordan goes to check around campus, usually everything is all fine except for a few things.
“The last couple we’ve had, the majority of students follow instructions and follow teachers to where they’re supposed to go. But, there was some joking around and stuff and we’d like to see that end.”
Even though it doesn’t relate to lockdowns but could, there is one thing that Jordan commonly sees when he walks into classrooms.
“I just see a lot of inattentiveness, earphones in listening to music, people with their phones hidden behind their backpacks watching videos and stuff. Think they need to pay more attention. So what if we did get a lockdown call and they don’t hear it.”