By Mary O’KEEFE
At about 9:20 a.m. on Wednesday, Crescenta Valley High School Principal Michele Doll made an announcement.
“This is a lockdown drill. All teachers should lock their classroom doors. Please close all the blinds and turn off lights in your room. Stay away from doors and windows. If anyone is locked out, find the nearest safe place to hide. Do not stay in an open area.”
CVHS held the drill as a proactive way of facing an unthinkable scenario of an active shooter on campus and, in the light of recent events, it was an important exercise.
Staff, teachers and students were inside rooms and away from windows with the doors locked. A sign was placed on the front door stating there was a drill in progress.
“We met with [Glendale police] and were told to run, hide and fight,” Doll said.
The staff was also advised by GPD to tell their students to grab the thickest book they could find and hold it up over their head or in front of their chest.
“The lieutenant said it wouldn’t stop a bullet, but it might deflect or slow it down,” Doll said.
Teachers knew that the drill was going to take place, but didn’t know what time.
When the event began, all doors were locked. Those in the office all went into a back room. A parent came to the front door with a lunch but was not let in.
A counselor was caught in the small room between the office and counselor’s office. After finding the door locked she, knocked but was not allowed in.
“We can’t open the door,” Doll said. “I see [the counselor], but for all I know a shooter is holding a gun to her just out of sight.”
These are the types of precautionary scenarios that staff has trained in. Doll acknowledged that it may go against human nature to leave someone outside, but it was important to remember that safety of all comes first. This was also why the training was so important: so everyone knows what is expected of him or her.
During the lockdown, each of the teachers filled out a form listing the students that were not in the classroom during the exercise and any non-students that were in the room. Administrators walked throughout the school during the drill.
“There was no one in hallway,” said Assistant Principal Lisa Reed. “There was no one on the field.”
During the drill, anyone in physical education on the field was taken to the locker rooms. Reed said the students were moved very fast off the field to safety.
Assistant Principal Sungsook Kim also noticed that the halls were empty.
“Everyone was in the rooms,” she said. “[One person] was locked in the bathroom … it was so quiet.”
“I heard the teachers whispering to the students to stay quiet,” said Associate Principal Rene Valedes.
Valedes went through the hallways and knocked on the doors. Not one teacher opened the doors and all stayed hidden until the all clear was given.
If a real lock down occurs, parents will be guided to the Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station for all information. Because CVHS is in the unincorporated area of Los Angeles County, La Crescenta, the agency in charge will be LASD. The department trains for an active shooter scenario.
Overall, the school administration was happy with the drill results. Students took the drill seriously and all followed procedure, which is what will save lives if the unthinkable happens.