Locked Down

On Monday April 3rd, a hoax call was made to the Santa Barbara sheriff’s department that there was an active shooter in a non-existent classroom at San Marcos High School. The sheriff’s department responded immediately and the school was put under lockdown. The lockdown itself had its own issues and miscommunications, but the lesser known mistakes were made in the aftermath. After the lockdown, a message was sent out on ParentsSquare to families, but there was no later follow up. While letting the lockdown quietly fade away as to not stir up emotions is understandable, the fear of not learning from our past rises out of that silence, haunting our future. 

In an ideal world, our principal would have made an announcement the following morning addressing the student body. Comforting students and letting everyone know that an event like this will not be treated like a false fire alarm would have helped with the feeling of safety on campus. On a campus where fire alarms are treated like a cell phone ringing in class, the regular ‘crying wolf’ about a school shooter seems like a plausible future. Reassuring students that regardless of the call being a hoax, it is still a serious event and not something to forget would have strengthened our school going forward. An announcement over the intercom is personal and does nothing to aggravate students or staff. 

As a larger project to make our school safer, a curriculum or powerpoint presentation on what to do in a school shooting could be made. While we do participate in lockdown drills, the motions of locking a door and turning out the lights are not done with the teachings of run, hide, and fight. Whether it is too heavy to talk about safety, or time is not made for it, students are generally in the dark on what to do specially to ensure their safety in a lockdown. 

On a lighter note, the school should get a therapy dog for situations like the lockdown. They do not have the same levels of stigma that going to see a counselor has and they are very cute.

We should be grateful for the sheriff’s department’s rapid response to the call, as well as our own administration’s speed in getting our classrooms locked down. While preliminary improvements imply that this will happen again, having high standards for how our administration should respond is not bad, it is what will keep us changing for the better. 

Despite the administration’s ability to have handled the situation better, they are still not entirely the ones to blame. Neither is the sheriff’s department, or even the person who made the hoax call to begin with. At the end of the day, we in America are all facing an epidemic of gun violence. Gun violence has poisoned the culture of our country and has spread terror into the hearts of youth.  According to The New York Times, guns are the leading cause of death for children 1-19 years old. Fear has become our reflex. A life free of gun violence is a myth. This can not continue. Guns will take lives and the ones spared will not have enough life left inside them to stop the violence. To stop gun violence we must vote and spend our money wisely.