‘Lock Down’ phrase can arouse concern

Officials say ‘safety’ stands first on priority list


Kylie Pickering

Busy halls aren’t a common sight in Groom High, unless you count between bells; during a “lock down,” not a single student will be in the halls. Last year Groom witnessed two lock downs. During those, the halls were as empty of students as the one seen in this picture.

While they are rarely spoken, considered or even heard together, two specific words arouse concern the second students hear them through a classroom door or across the school’s intercom system. Those words are “Lock Down.”

Last year, administrators called two lock downs at Groom School. While the administration does not want to call more this year, the school is prepared if one is necessary.

“Our main priority is the safety of our students and our staff,” Superintendent Jay Lamb said, “We, to the best of our abilities, will enforce that.”

One case during the 2012-2013 school year involved road rage that ended with a shooting at Allsups convenience store, which is only a few blocks south of school. Most students had already left the building during this incident, as it occurred during the after-school tutorial period.

 “When notified of a threat, whether that be by students or the local police, we first go door to door, or use the P.A. system to contact the teachers and allow them to know we are having lockdown,” Lamb said.

Following notification, teachers are in charge of following the standard lock-down protocol to keep students safe.

 “You need to listen to your teachers,” he said.

The second incident last year involved a woman waving a gun on Broadway, which again, is just one long block east of the school.

As for the two lock-down situations last year, the notifications that the school received were both by law enforcement officials, and as school secretary Frances Payton said, those alerts were followed by additional ones from  “everyone in town.”

During both incidents, teachers kept students in the classrooms until an “all-clear” announcement was given.

“Your teachers are there to help you and help you get to where you are going safely,” Lamb said.

In addition to administrative and faculty responsibilities, according to the superintendent, students also play a role in keeping the campus safe.

“Don’t be afraid of informing your teachers,” Lamb said, “whether you see another student holding a weapon, or you see a person on the premises that doesn’t belong, tell a teacher or administrator.”