Stories from lockdown


Kederson Pierre

It looks calm and peaceful now, but last week, Everett High was the site of a lockdown that disrupted the end of the school day and felt unsettling for many. Luckily the incident ended safely and without harm as Everett Police worked with school authorities to ensure the safe dismissal of all students and staff.

Nerves were all over the place when Principal Naumann announced lockdown on Wednesday, January 26th. Something that had started as just a shelter-in-place ended in an ALICE protocol with students having a late dismissal. Find out what the staff and students had to say about where they were and how they felt during the incident. 

Maria Eduarda, junior

“Before the lockdown I asked my teacher to go to the bathroom, so I was not even in a safe place when everything started. I walked out of the bathroom not knowing that a lockdown was going on because I didn’t pay attention to the announcement, but a teacher saw me and said that I wasn’t supposed to be outside of my class. I asked why and he told me what was going on. I tried going back to my class but at that point I couldn’t get back in the classroom because the door was locked and the lights were off. I was on the second floor and the first thing I thought was that I was going to be able to get in the gym but my friend was in there and she said that they were all locked in the bathroom, and they wouldn’t let me in so I ran to the library. When I got there I wasn’t sure if it was just a drill or if we were actually having a lockdown so I wasn’t worried, but things started to get serious when the clock hit 2:30 and we were still all locked in the building. There were other two students and two teachers with me in the library. One of the students even started to pray. Time was passing by really slowly and people were blowing up my phone saying that there was a helicopter outside. The police were there too, they were saying that there was a man inside of the school so I got really scared. But I guess at the end everything went fine.”

Trice Megginson, digital media and photography teacher

¨During the lockdown it was relatively calm. Once Mr. Naumaun said ‘lockdown’ and ‘ALICE,’ I knew it was time to barricade the door and do everything I could. The students actually weren’t aware of what was going on until I moved the file cabinet up against the door. I tried to stay calm for the students since we didn’t really know what was going on. There wasn’t anything more detailed like a threat in a part of the school or something like that. I had a feeling it might just be a hoax of some sort, but of course we need to take it seriously no matter what. I feel like they managed it the best way they could. I felt like they did a pretty good job coming on and telling us that we were still in lockdown and just kept us informed about what was going on. The police coming around checking in the classrooms were very comforting in a way knowing that they are watching over and are being responsive. The year after I graduated from high school, Columbine happened. It was like one of those things that’s so shocking and unfortunately now it’s one of those things that when it happens its like business as usual the next day, so going back to when Columbine happened and when I started teaching its always been la fear that something like that would happen, but thankfully it didn’t get to that. This was the first time I had to barricade the door like. I was more scared about what happened after than when it was happening at the moment.”

Maria Pappas, sophomore

“I was in my math class and we were done with the class. Me and the girls were finished as well and that’s when it started. When we heard that the school is on lockdown so we hid in the corner. I didn’t feel safe. Me and my friends were actually crying. I noticed that the school was trying to handle it the very best it can do. I’m just glad that my friends are okay. I feel fine now that no one got hurt. We should have a scanning system for the ID so that after the doors shut the only way to get in is for an ID.

Stefano Oquendo Barreto, junior

“I wasn’t really scared. I was just playing on my phone while doing my assignments. After I was done, me and the group were playing 8 Pool on our phones and we were playing against each other. Of course we had to stay quiet. The school did what they had to do, so I wasn’t nervous about what we could do except to listen for instructions. I was in science class. Class was about to be over and we heard over the speaker that the school was still in lockdown. I played on my phone with my boys and after that around 3 o’clock I started to take a nap, then I think around 3:15 that’s when we left. It took a while. I can’t wait for the scanner thing I heard about for IDs, I think that will help moving forward.”

Amanda Judd, English teacher

¨I was in my fifth floor classroom in period 4B when Mr. Naumann first called the shelter-in-place. The door was locked, and we just kept going like usual. When the shelter-in-place was called, one of my students was in the bathroom and he came right back. I thought that was great that he knew to do that, and then when it switched to a lockdown, we talked to the students and we reminded everyone what the protocol was, and got out of sight of the door and one student suggested that we barricade the door so we used the file cabinet and we hunkered down and waited for Mr. Naumann to make the announcement that we were good. I’m glad that everyone was safe and that everyone did what they had to do to make sure everyone was safe. I’m sad that it happened. I’m sad that this is something that is happening in schools and I’m sad for the students that have to feel nervous when a lockdown is called. Overall I’m sad about the situation but I’m happy that it turned out to be ok. Mainly my thought was to remain calm and make sure everybody else in the room felt the same and felt calm as well. I think moving forward we should have more conversation as a school community about it.”

Noël Lebrun, junior

“I thought it was ok. I feel like it was handled pretty well by the school. I was just in English class. The class was about to end and the announcement said school is going to be on lockdown. First thing I did was sleep, but I helped the teacher move the chairs and desks. It was fine. I took my nap. We were on the fifth floor. The class didn’t leave till 4:10. They didn’t allow the students who live behind the school to leave out the back door. We walked in front of the school all the way down the stairs. People who live behind the school, why not let them exit there? I think as a school community that we should make sure the back is safe as well so that the other students can get home faster instead of wasting time making them walk in front of the school then causing them to walk around the high school. What if something happens where the adults couldn’t see?”

Ray Castagnola, student success coach

“When they asked for a shelter-in-place, I was on the fourth floor. I believe I was in room 4430. It was an algebra class with about six students and a teacher. Everybody was a bit nervous because when you hear ‘shelter-in-place’ and ‘lock down’ you get scared. But the teachers and I explained to everyone to remain calm and they would keep us updated as things went on. I think the law officials did a great job because they ensured that the whole building was safe. It’s a very, very big building, five floors. They did a walk-through with other administrators, which took a while. People had to be patient while they made sure it was safe for everybody. The classroom I was in, they did a great job. They were calm. They were a little frustrated because they couldn’t leave at the normal time, but they understood that it was because of the safety issues. These types of things happen in the schools now and then, especially in very large schools and communities. It also happens in businesses. There’s always a chance that potentially unsafe things can happen. And in this case, they found out that there was no real threat, but you always have to play it safe when you think there is a threat. And that’s what everybody did, and they did a great job. It’s okay for you to be nervous or upset. Some people were angry that one student created this entire situation and held everybody up for a few hours. We couldn’t leave the building and the classroom for quite some time. But we should learn from this and realize that each time after an incident like this, we can learn and move forward and find new ways to avoid it.” 

Taylor Coco, student success coach

“I was on the fifth floor eating lunch in the teachers room when they announced the shelter-in-place. I was called down because of my position to guard one of the doors. At the point when the lockdown was announced, we wanted to make sure whether deans and people like that  were supposed to stay by the doors, or if we were supposed to be in a room because it’s never been a real lockdown to this extreme. We heard shelter and we knew where our role was with that, but that moment when it turns to lockdown it’s scary. The first available room, fortunately Mr. Boudreau had let me in his office. Because I was very nervous at that moment, I did go into his office. I am an anxious person by default so under stress I struggle. I did the best I could but I did panic a little bit because that’s just how I am and I wasn’t in a room with students. If I was and I did go in there, I definitely would have felt like I would’ve been able to protect and be there for you all. But as a person and taking the teacher out of it, I definitely felt overwhelmed for sure.

“The announcements, although it felt like it was something that was scary, that is what the new training is. It’s a little bit of both because the back and forth, of oh my god is someone here? But at the same time, it’s better to know if the rooms are cleared and things like that. If there was someone super dangerous would we want them to hear? You kind of black out, like you don’t realize what’s right and what’s correct. Even with training, like, you’re still a person. And you still get scared and you still are trying to do the best to protect everybody and that’s scary for the deans and the principals. There’s over 2,000 of you so it’s like, ok am I responsible for all these kids? I think that’s a heavy weight to bear.”

“I definitely was anxious to go back into school because there was this heaviness to me. I was happy to see that yesterday and today there were people at every door. I didn’t know what the plan was and what they were gonna do. I do like the adjustment they’re making of when people are late and having them go to the cafe because it feels a little safer instead of just everyone shuffling to the side so I am seeing a decent difference in like kids with IDs and passes because I’m someone who is in the hallway all the time. I’m happy with seeing more IDs. It has to be way stricter but I have seen an improvement considering how many kids there are. There’s definitely been less students in the halls since then and I think teachers are definitely doing their best. So I hope it stays and I hope it doesn’t go away after this week. I hope it continues to stay strict because I’m out here in the middle of it all. So for me, I really hope that it stays strict.

“I definitely think about putting alarms in the doors or something like that. You know at any normal emergency exit it’s a simple thing. I know that we’ve added more cameras so continuing to do that would be helpful. And I know that they are in the works of doing something like a scanner system with an ID so you can check in, scan it, and then you know that’s this person and it has their picture just with any type of license. You know that it matches the person so I don’t know if that exists or what it looks like but I think that some kind of ID scanner would be really good and also help with things like being late, or if they’re in the bathrooms, you would just scan your ID when you’re in, scan it when you’re back out. It would keep you accountable for how long you are out so that’s something that I think they’re working on and that I am hopeful that we can get that. Just to keep everyone accountable for everything so that’s something I would love.

“I also hope that we can maybe do things like how we do a fire drill, like having drills for this because I know that everyone deals with something like this differently. Some people in moments of stress are, like, nervous laughers, or get scared, maybe tell jokes because that’s how they deal with stress. Some people like myself don’t do well with that so I think having drills and practice is really something that we should implement as well. I think that would help us be more prepared. The ALICE drills that the teachers have to do are not in-person and are online.

Sarah Simmons, English teacher

“So I had a class, I was in my room. Well, first there was a shelter-in-place, you know, business as usual. Making sure the door is locked, checking the halls to make sure there aren’t any kids, just protocol. When it was then called for the actual lockdown, I did one more check at the door just in case, checked the halls just in case, lights off, projector off, did all the things in my class that needed to be done, and just sat tight. To me, I was like okay, let’s drill this. 

“Once the second lockdown announcement came through I was like okay, this may be a little more intense than just a drill or maybe an incident was going on outside or something. I asked my students to help me move my furniture. I have three doors in my room so it can be a little complicated to move things but I do have my room set so I kind of have heavy objects near each one of my doors. My kids were amazing, they helped me block my doors and took a corner so we were out of the line of sight through the windows and we sat tight, which is typical protocol in general. 

“When we sat down, I whispered to the kids to try to be as quiet as possible, we’ll listen to any announcements that come through and we’ll move through and act as we need to appropriately. Right now all we know is we’re on lockdown, that we need to be fully locked in our rooms, and we can’t move forward until we know anything else. I briefly reminded kids what that meant. If we got information about where things were, we could evacuate if we needed to, or counter if we need to. I reminded them that I didn’t think it was going to come to that, just to kind of dispel any nerves that my students may have had. Part of our job as educators, which is really difficult in this era, is that we do need to be mindful of being as calm as we possibly can, especially in those really difficult situations.

“Everyone reacts to trauma differently. Some students and staff are going to really be okay and stand strong and be the leaders and that’s great, then there’s gonna be some people who don’t know how to navigate under that pressure and that’s okay too. It isn’t the expectation that we all know how to react to this really intense situation. But our job as staff, I feel like I’m calm, even if I don’t feel calm on the inside, because of course I’m nervous, I don’t know what’s going on. I sent a quick text to my husband, like, okay we’re on lockdown, I just barricaded my door I’ll update you as soon as  I can. It’s not my job to impart my nerves onto my students. So even if I’m feeling nervous I had to remain even so they also feel good. 

“We just hunkered down, my kids were so good nobody was spreading rumors or anything. If a student got a text or something they showed me instead of saying it out loud, which I thought was really admirable because it’s easy in this situation to want to be the informant. I also double checked attendance, I did have another student who got pulled into another room and I was so thankful she emailed me and was like ‘I’m okay’ and I was like thank God, everyone’s good.

“It’s hard in that moment to really identify how you’re feeling, so I think a lot of kids were like ‘Yeah I’m fine, I’m okay’ because at that moment what else could they be? Sometimes that’s our reaction to things, like fight or flight. Some people are like, I’m just gonna hold steady and that adrenaline feeling might not kick in until they leave the building. I haven’t seen that group today but I will next period and I hope to just debrief with them. I already thanked them for being so great, I think things went as well as they could. 

“Mr. Naumann was super clear. He followed the protocol as we are supposed to hear it. He was calm, he was even, and I think that was really commendable given the circumstances. It’s a high stress situation for everybody and I didn’t feel stress from him and just like I can’t put stress on my students he can’t put stress on 2000 people.

“I bet leaving the school was hard for some people even staff leaving it was a weird feeling; it felt unfinished. I have the ability to get in my car, put on music and drive home and sort of work my way through things, so I hope my students and others in the building find a way to re-center themselves because its okay to feel uncentered in those moments. It’s a scary world to live in when you think you have to be prepared for things like that. 

“Obviously as a teacher and a parent I don’t want to have to be prepared for things like that but I know that we are, and that comforts me. Even teacher friends, as we’re texting each other making sure everyone’s okay. It’s good to feel that sense of community, which I know we have at Everett High School.

“In a situation you can’t plan for, you can drill all you want. We drill these things so we can be prepared and make it through the best we can. We had a good outcome, everyone was safe and we hope we don’t have to do it again, but that we are prepared if we do have to. I hope the students feel the same way. I know that emotions can change our feelings but as a staff member I hope we made everyone feel like we’re in a good spot.”