On March 24, the interim principal, Dr. Mark Karagus, announced on the loudspeaker, “Secure the school, secure the school,” and initiated a lockdown drill for all students and staff. The lockdown occurred during period four, and a special schedule was put in place to accommodate the lockdown.
Due to the events that occurred on Dec. 14, 2012, at Sandy Hook Elementary School, many legislators and administrators believe that lockdown drills are necessary at least once a year, and state statutes allow emergency drills to substitute for regular fire drills twice a year.
“Of all of the emergency drills that we can conduct, this is probably the most important one to rehearse given what we have witnessed in schools over the past few years,” Assistant Principal Richard Franzis wrote.
The school would institute a lockdown if the following scenarios were to take place: an unwelcome or dangerous person on school grounds, a potentially dangerous fugitive is reported in the area of the school, news about a violent incident occurring near the school, violent incidents that have occurred at other locations similar to Staples indicating they may not be isolated events but instead, a chain of planned events and an actual intruder or active shooter in the building.
Students who participated in the lockdown drill on Thursday commented on their experiences.
“It is important for people to know what to do in case we are ever in a situation where we have to have a real lockdown. Based off of the observations from my class, people understood what to do in the event of a lockdown,” Sarah Acselrod ’18 said.
Thomas Moy ’17 also commented on the drill saying, “If there was an intruder, the students have to be prepared for that. I don’t think we are prepared for that situation, but it’s impossible to create a realistic environment. This [lockdown drill] is better than nothing,”
Representatives from the Westport Police Department observed the lockdown drill with other administrators. “The students and staff did a tremendous job in reacting when told to do so. The assistant principals, the grade level assistants and the Westport Police walked through all areas of the building, and there were virtually no students or staff in sight including custodians and cafeteria workers,” Franzis said.