Reflecting on how the lockdown was handled


Many Carlmont students used twitter to find out what was the cause of the 30-minute lockdown.

Kian Karamdashti, ScotCenter Sports

When the announcement for all Carlmont students to “shelter in place” was given right before the end of lunch on March 4, it was met with mass chaos and confusion.

Sophomore Andy Cross said, “I had no idea what was going on. I couldn’t even hear what the announcement said because of the noise in the halls. I just saw a bunch of kids pile into the nearest classroom, so I just followed them. Once we were in the classroom,  our teacher was pretty calm with us, even though he didn’t even know what was going on at the time. He made sure we followed the school’s orders.”

Not everyone had the same experience as Cross, as junior John Cunningham wasn’t even aware there was a problem at first.

“We had a substitute and I’m not sure he even knew there was an announcement, so I assumed there was no problem. After five minutes of regular class, a kid found out on twitter that we were supposed to be on lockdown and everyone was pretty shocked. If it wasn’t for that kid we probably would’ve been doing classwork the whole time.”

Twitter, a popular site among high school students, also helped inform the students of the reason behind the “shelter in place” command. As the Belmont Police Department tweeted: “Police Alert! PD searching for burglary susp area Carlmont Dr. Hispanic male gray top. #BelmontWatch”  The tweet received 30 retweets, a majority of them coming from Carlmont students during the 30-minute lockdown.

“The police tweet definitely helped calm some nerves,” said Cunningham. “Knowing it was just a burglar around the area instead of something worse was good to know.”

After it was clear that the students were not in any “serious danger”, the attention shifted to the way administration dealt with the situation.

“I was a little disappointed with how administration handled the situation,” said junior Raine Kerhin. “A lot of people associate “shelter in place” with a weather or chemical issue and they need to do a better job communicating to us that this was a real emergency. We’re lucky [the burglar] didn’t try to actually hide on campus or we might have had a serious problem.”

Administrative Vice Principal Grant Steunenberg also shared the same concern as Kerhin. “One thing we are trying to improve upon is our terminology. By calling for a ‘shelter in place,’ we are are implying that their is a potentially dangerous situation close to our location, whether it’s a dangerous person or a gas leak. I know a lot of students were left confused by that, so that is definitely something we are looking to improve upon for next time.”

Despite this, Steunenberg was overall very happy about how the school responded to the situation.

“I thought our school responded very quickly and our staff was extremely professional in how they brought the kids in. The majority of the students also took this very seriously and listened to the directions given to them with no questions asked. We were able to put 2,000 people in a safe environment in a very short amount of time, which is remarkable.”