Inform students during lock-down



Without a doubt, anyone on the Roseville High campus this last Wednesday can attest to it being a day to remember. While we’ve heard that deceptively calming chime of the lock-down signal more often than not over the last few weeks, nothing quite gets people’s attention more than the message of ‘alert, this is not a drill.’

Even the students who normally spend the lock-down chatting with their friends, ignoring all rules about electronic devices and appreciating the disruption to their regularly scheduled boredom (we’ve all been there at one point or another) will quickly follow the actual lock-down protocol the second they realize the severity of the situation.

There is no avoiding it – lock-downs will spark confusion. With their applications to minor as well as life-threatening cases, it is impossible to know exactly how much inner panic is logical. And, unlike a fire alarm, no one can visually assess the situation and gauge their reaction accordingly.

But, during the lock-down we’re advised to stay off our phones and keep the noise level to a minimum, both pieces of advice with sound reasoning to back them up. However, that task becomes a little more difficult when the most we’re told about a situation is ‘this is not a drill.’ We all know that means this lock-down isn’t completely nonthreatening, but other than that we’ve got nothing.

We’re curious creatures, us students; when someone tells us we’ve entered a lock-down, we will not stop until we know what’s brought on this knee-jerk response to crisis. For instance, should I spend these minutes daydreaming or trying to write out my will by carving away the dust underneath the table? These are important questions.

Then we get to thinking. Maybe it’s best to text our mother some last ‘I love you’s’ just in case. Maybe we should inform our beloved parents that we’re currently alright and we’re sitting next to a nice textbook we could use as a last-ditch means of protection.

And maybe while we’re at it we should contact all of our friends via text or social media about what they know about the situation. You know, just to confirm if we should fear for our lives. Sure, they might have inaccurate information, resulting in rumors about a gun on campus or students getting arrested that are not grounded in facts, but it’s the best we’ve got.

At least on those forbidden phones we can also look out for the latest RHS email, so it’s practically impossible to stay off them when we’re desperate for some information, no matter the advice against it. And something about our parents knowing more about a campus threat that would potentially hurt us, not them, seems a little off to say the least.

It seems even more odd that, considering someone deemed it safe enough to alert us over the intercom that ‘this is not a drill,’ no one believed it safe or important enough to tell us students any information on the situation. No ‘we’re investigating an alleged threat of a weapon on campus.’ No nothing.

Funny thing is, it would have calmed people, knowing there was no maniac running around threatening to kill us, while still communicating this is a serious situation that – though not a definite threat – merits proper conduct. Then add in the fact that it would have helped prevent or at least diminish to an extent the spread of rumors and eliminated the urge to check our phones for the next RHS email update, and it looks better and better.

But no, better keep students in the dark and dissuade them from using devices to attain more information. We’re just debating whether or not we’re going to die here.

We’re all thankful Wednesday did not turn into an actual threat, and I truly appreciate the caution taken to ensure student safety. Considering how rare of an occurrence lock-downs have been at RHS (and hopefully continue to be despite recent national and local threats), our procedures are not a well oiled machine.

However, as high school students, we are not only capable of understanding information about the crisis, but would benefit from it. Lock-downs might naturally spark some confusion, but the best way to ensure people remain calm is to dispel this confusion with accurate information.