Recently, there have been incidents that have caused great concerns of safety at school for students and staff at Crescenta Valley High School. At the end of October there was a school lockdown in the middle of 6th period. The cause of the lockdown was concern from a resident who told the police that they saw someone with a weapon going into the campus.
Many media outlets reported the lock down incident. Crescenta Valley High allows students to go outside of school for lunch time, so some students eat at home or fast food places nearby. A JROTC, Junior Reserve Officers Training Program, student had brought his practice gun to school without a case. He entered through the fence because most gates, including gates located by the music room and sides of the school, which are closed after lunch, and going through the front gates would have given him a tardy and other processes for him to take. The person who reported the weapon is known to be a parent at La Crescenta Elementary, which is located right next to Crescenta Valley High School. “An ROTC student went home for his drill and ceremony replica wood rifle, jumping a fence to return to his ROTC classroom…” read the email sent to parents from the school.
As a student who experienced this lockdown, the situations were extremely frightening. First, on the Thursday before the lock down, there was a student who planned to school shoot on Friday, but didn’t carry out his actions as his plan were reported to school officials through another student. Just the presence of the rumor had already caused a fuss on campus and in the community. Many students were absent on Friday that the student had threatened to organize the shooting. Another thing that was frightening, was that most students and staff didn’t know the details of the situation. On the day of the lockdown, most people in the building weren’t given enough information about the cause or the duration. Most people were frightened of the helicopter coming overhead and siren sounds from all over. The purpose of the helicopters was unknown too, if it was the media or if they were searching for the person with the gun. At first, most students weren’t frightened, but as time went by and sounds from outside were increasing, everyone started to be scared and take the situation much more seriously.
To share my personal experience, when the lockdown started, I was in the bathroom. After I came out, I heard the security guards yelling and the announcement made on the speakers. My own classroom door was already locked, but luckily, I was able to go inside a classroom nearby. It was a scary experience for everyone, especially when I was in a classroom that I didn’t know, and where the sirens and the helicopter sounds were extremely loud. I quickly texted my brother to make sure he was safe and texted my mom to tell her which classroom I was in and where it was located.
Students were dismissed at about 4 o’clock, and most returned home with guardians. Many of my peers reported back on the event, with different stories and rumors. There was a classroom where they thought the situation wasn’t real, so their teacher kept on with their lecture and didn’t even lock the door. There was another classroom where a substitute teacher opened the door to see what was going on outside. Also, a student who was planning on coming back for her drama performance practice (she was sick that day but felt better in the afternoon) recalled that she knew more about the situation than her friends and classmates in the buildings.
The next school day, after the lockdown, teachers asked us of our opinions on the event and concerns with our safety. Most of our answers told to our instructors were that “we wish we knew more about the situation,” and that “we have a right to know more about what was going on.” The faculty told the students that they were worried about us panicking, and we answered that “we are not as young as you think, we are to handle the danger we are in.”
The student who jumped the fence is unknown, and his peers are told that they are not allowed to tell anyone his identity. The only information is that he is a senior and he didn’t mean to make this fuss.
There was also a recent school shooting around our area and a fight of two students at our school that resulted in damage to a student’s car. We are at school for our education, and we are at school for our community. But how safe is our school?
Many believed, including myself, that events such as school shooting were things that happened outside our community. More of something “that would never happen to us”. These incidents have shown us that what we have believed is not true. I would like to believe that us students have done our best to keep ourselves from harm, and luckily the situation wasn’t what it was thought to be.
I’ve always thought that drills we have at school, such as fire, earthquake, and lockdown drills, were pointless because we’d probably never had those kinds of disasters at our school, in our community. This was the first time in 16 years that I was so glad we had those drills as practices.
Minseo Park, Grade 11
Crescenta Valley High School