On January 16, 2019, College of the Canyons went on lockdown as a woman was suspected of having a rifle on campus. Around 2000 students and 200 staff members were on campus during the lockdown in which they all went into hiding for nearly three hours. As COC students, a few of my friends and I were on campus during the lockdown in which we were rushed into a room for safety. The lockdown was announced a little after four and was lifted a little before seven. The Santa Clarita Sheriff Department searched the whole campus and deemed it safe. It was later found out that a woman was collecting tree branches instead of holding a rifle.
According to a junior attending Academy of the Canyons, Heather Griffiths, “I was there at the lockdown in COC. Some staff rushed me and other AOC kids to hide in some offices. I felt really afraid and compared my experience to other kids who have been in lockdowns before. I learned that not every place is completely safe because I’ve been at COC for three years, and it felt like a home, but the lockdown made it seem just like a regular school where anything can happen. I need to be prepared.”
Another junior attending Academy of the Canyons, Susan Chamling shared her story with JSR. “Me and my friends had just finished a class and were waiting in the cafeteria to get picked up and drive to our next class. But all of a sudden, this lady comes into the room and starts saying that we need to come with her because there’s a shooter on campus. We all followed her out and eventually hid in the school offices. For the first ten minutes, I was pretty scared because even though I was pretty sure that logically we would be fine, there was a part of me that knew that theres a chance me and my friends would get hurt. I started imagining a news story with our faces and us on TV as kids who had been killed in a shooting and I got really anxious because I realized how tragic it would be if me or any of my friends got killed and were not able to accomplish the things we dreamed of.”
The day after the lockdown, all the teachers at AOC made sure the topic was brought up in class as it was a serious situation that could have been really dangerous. Many students discussed about how some adults didn’t know what to do as they didn’t follow the regular protocol. Many adults went outside, used their phones, turned on the lights, or kept on talking while it was supposed to be silent.
The lockdown really impacted my friends and I as we couldn’t stop thinking about it. We talked about it with each other for the next several days. We talked about how scared we felt, what we were thinking at the moment, and what we would have done if something actually happened.
Even though this was a traumatic experience for many students, we were able to learn and grow from this lockdown.
Susie Song, Grade 11
Academy of the Canyons