Open period in the case of emergencies

Students need guidance for emergencies during open periods.


Andrew Maresca

Students prepare to re-enter the building. Bottlenecks occurred during re-entry.

Karla Lopez, Staff Writer

When people think of open periods they think time to go home early, go out to eat, or just catch up on homework. What most people do not think about is what to do during emergencies. Do people even know what to do? Especially when there is an intruder lockdown. The questions they ask themselves are some serious questions and they need some serious answers. 

Students are the most at risk since students do not have access to teachers’ doors. If the teachers are not supposed to open the doors, where are they supposed to go? Besides the bathrooms, there are no other places to go and hide. All the students know that when there is an intruder, the door should be blocked and the windows should be covered. The teachers turn the lights off and make absolutely no noise. That is the typical plan but what about the students that have open periods? Should the teachers and staff just leave them and hope that they can defend themselves?

Associate principle Jerry Stratton makes sure the students feel safe and protected at school. One way he tries is to make sure the students can know how to protect themselves and get to safety. “If they can’t get into a classroom, you have the ability to be a thinker” Stratton said. “So if that means there is a close exit go. Get away. Get safe. If you can not get to a classroom or exit then I would suggest restroom, get into a locked stall”. 

Stratton and the staff make sure that they are also prepared for any scenarios that can happen. “One thing we try to teach, even the teachers is use common sense, think about your protocols we have if you’re here in the room,” Stratton said. “What are you supposed to do here in the room? Get out of line of sight, make sure the doors closed, barricade be ready to fight if they get into the room.” 

Johnston’s number one priority during emergencies is the safety of the students and staff. They do everything they can to make the school a better and safer place. “The adults should be able to give advice before anything like this happens and tell them what they would do, so maybe kids will know what to do,” Jovanna Medina-Cisnero ’19 said. 

Not a lot of students have thought about these situations and what they would do. “I think students don’t take it seriously because it rarely happens in Johnston,” Ching Hsu ’19 said. “It’s kind of hard to do it when it’s like, ‘oh it’ll never happen to us’ but we should be prepared just incase”. Whether it is a drill or not, students and staff need to take this seriously. “The people furthest away from the intruder should leave the building immediately and the people nearest to the intruder should stay in the classroom and prepare,” Hsu said.

In the past two summers, the Johnston Police Department and the high school staff did an active drill. The drills were made to seem like they were real situations and the staff had to do things that they usually do in an active lockdown drill. “Not only was it in the high school building, it was in almost all of the district buildings,” Stratton said. “We did it across the district. And I know most of the buildings did active drills with police. There was some staff members injured, there was police officers injured because as the teachers fought back, there were things being thrown. We did it like it was real. But there is the danger when you do practice drills like that as far as people’s safety and we had some injuries”.