Before I begin writing this post I'd like to inform to my fellow readers and peers that unlike my other posts, this one has a more serious tone. Don't be disappointed if this isn't as funny, raucous, or as profane as my other posts. This is something serious, I'd like to address.
Since the 6th grade, I have heard tales of how my High School is riddled with bomb threats, school evacuations, scandals, and drug problems. I remember being 11 years old and overhearing my bus driver talk about how students were found with Vodka in their water bottles. Needless to say, I was scared of that place and was desperate not to go.
During my Freshman year, I tried to switch out of the high school due to fear and the fact that all my best friends went to another high school. I did not leave and have stayed ever since. Sometimes I feel this is for the best, and other times I feel like I should have left. Today is a day in which I am once again thoroughly disappointed with my High School and the faculty than run it.
Freshman year, I don't remember exactly as to whether or not there was any sort of lock-down or school evacuation. I think we may have had a few drills, but nothing actually serious.
Sophomore year, however, I found the situation much more different. Not too longer after the school year began there was another bomb threat toward the school and we were all evacuated into the bleachers. It was cold, wet, and the only way to pee was to use the filthy Porto-potties that have been so gently used by the football team.
Towards the end of the year, there was also a situation with paint used in the H wing of the school. Apparently, it released toxic fumes that made people nauseous and even sent one girl to the hospital. School had to be evacuated and ended early.
Earlier this year, we had 2 power outages one of which lasted over an hour.
Needless to say, there have been many times in which my High School has caused upset, outrage, or had serious action taken in place.
Today we had another situation in the end of Period 5 in which an announcement was made for students to "remain in their classes until the bell was rung." It was said simply and with little concern. My first thought was that there was some stupid fight which needed us to stay in class another extra five minutes.
After ten minutes the announcement was made yet again, and again, and again. Eventually the assistant principal went on to to say something like, "this is what we do in an emergency, which is what this is right now, an emergency." Rumors then started circling around twitter that one student had climbed into the ceiling and was unable to be found. Everybody believed it and thought it was hilarious as we were all joking about it.
However, it didn't take too long for that rumor to die down and for another one to start: someone was stuck in the elevator. This wasn't as big but it didn't surprise me because my utter fear of elevators stems from the fear of being trapped in one. Yet just like the other rumor, this one too quickly died out.
Then people's parents started texting them, asking if everything was okay. My mom was among them and proceeded to tell me that the news was covering this. This is when I started to panic a little. If it wasn't someone in the roof or elevator and parents were being called, then this had to be something serious. I wanted to leave. Yet, my mom told me I was unable to leave the building for any means because we were on lock down.
An announcement went off for teachers to check their e-mail. The e-mail stated that they were looking for a particular student, whose name I will not mention. If the student was in the class, they were to be immediately sent to the main office. Soon after, administrators went around the school knocking on classrooms to see if that student was present.
At this point it had been over an hour and students had to go to the bathroom. To my understanding, one teacher allowed for three of her male students to pee in a bottle in the corner of the room.
After about an hour and forty-five minutes the school buzzer rang and a voice overhead stated, "the bell will ring at 12:35 for dismissal.. to period 6." The school day was proceeding on with a new schedule and the story was finally understood. A student had tweeted "I'm bringing a rifle to school tomorrow and going hunting. #animalprintwednesday."
The tweet was a joke, merely a statement regarding the fact that students were meant to wear animal print for Spirit Week.
However, the faculty decided that this was no joke and instead a serious matter. They locked down the school, called the police, and had the child arrested. To my understanding, the principal went into the classroom the student was in, checked his bag, and then put the student's arm behind him as he was escorted to the office.
I have multiple questions and ridicules for the incredibly inappropriate actions my High School performed.
First of all, was there any need to lock down the entire school for a total of almost 2 hours merely to search a child's bag and arrest him for a tweet? If there was suspicion couldn't they have just called him down to the main office? I could understand if they had to revert to a lock down as a last mean for safety, but to jump to that seems very unnecessary.
Secondly, the tweet did mention bringing in a weapon but is there no absence of profiling and discrimination here? I understand that in a post 9/11, post Columbine, post V-Tech, post Sandy-Hook Elementary world there is a low tolerance for jokes about weaponry or assault on students. But let's say this was a star football athlete who made this tweet. Would the school be ignorant enough to say that the same actions would have been taken if it was our quarterback?
Third, once the student was searched for weapons, what was the Principal's reasoning for putting his hands on the student? If he had no weapons on him, then touching him in any way was uncalled for and inappropriate.
Lastly, this is a student enrolled in Honors courses, on the dance team, and without a history of violence or severe school offense: was there truly any need for these actions? I happen to know the student a little and know that he's a fan of my blog and once told me that he respected my work and thought I was funny. I can assure you he is no threat to the student body or anybody; he is a generally nice person.
The fact that school was locked down for almost 2 hours forcing children to pee in bottles and fear is totally irresponsible. Was there a severe necessity for police to go to the roof of the school and distract students even more so? Was there any need for this student who tweeted a harmless joke to be arrested and labeled as a terrorist? I don't know, maybe I'm too young or too ignorant to see otherwise.
Once again a failure, my High School has unsurprisingly been the body for more unnecessary action and I know that this will almost undoubtedly not be the last time.
I sincerely hope the student is okay and that everything works out for him. He is not a bad person, merely a victim of poor actions.