HC implements new safety protocols following weapon in school

Students arrive to school during class change and go through the metal detectors in the front.

Evie Smith

Students arrive to school during class change and go through the metal detectors in the front.

Evie Smith, Co-Editor-in-Chief

On October 27, 2022, HC students experienced a nearly two-hour lockdown after a student was able to smuggle a gun into the building. The situation was handled and de-escalated by school officers, administration, the Lexington Police Department, and U.S. Martials. Nothing came from this threat. HC and FCPS have administered new safety protocols since the incident to ensure a situation like this does not occur again. These protocols seem impetus and rushed to the point where they are being proven inequitable. 

After the lockdown, an announcement was made that all doors to the outside will be alarmed at all times (except the portable doors, as students need to use them to get to class.) However, the side doors are not consistently alarmed. The announcement was made but then not enforced. If HC attempts to revamp the safety of the school, then they should follow up on their protocols. Without the enforcement of the protocols, no safety is being added to the school, and everything is a false claim. 

HC has also instituted a protocol that anyone who exits the building and re-enters will have to go to the front of the building to be re-checked by metal detectors. It is understandable that new safety protocols want students to go through the metal detectors again because they have been out of the school and possibly grabbed a weapon or something of the sort. However, during drills, it would take up much more time if students had to be re-checked by the metal detectors, so an alternate plan was devised. Less than two minutes before HC’s most recent fire drill, an announcement was made that students would not be allowed to take their backpacks outside and would have to return to their third hour before heading to Advisory. While this was made out of safety concerns, this didn’t click for all teachers and students in the moment. Teachers should be aware of new protocols well before an event takes place. However, how is not taking your backpack outside during a fire drill for fear of sneaking something in, any different than sneaking an item in your pocket and bringing it back inside? 

The morning metal detector lines also have an inconsistent checking process. Metal detectors can, in theory, be a good idea when used correctly. Nevertheless, items that should not be brought to school get through the metal detectors daily. Knives have been snuck in; vapes are every day. Students are aware of which security line to go to so that their items are checked with less scrutiny. Students will also go to the metal detectors in the front and sneak under the rope to avoid them. It shouldn’t be that easy to avoid going through the metal detectors. There needs to be consistent checking; otherwise, they serve no purpose other than taking up students’ time in the morning. The checking has also been shown to be quite prejudiced, as students who look more like the “typical” type of trying to get something into school are more likely to get their bags checked thoroughly. This is inequitable. It doesn’t matter if someone doesn’t “look the type-” no one should ever assume anything. Checking students more thoroughly who do look the “type,” proves a prejudice and can be damaging to students who are then seen as “dangerous” just because of their appearance.

HC needs new safety protocols- there is no doubt about that. What happened on October 27 should never have happened. However, if new protocols are implemented, they should be done in an equitable and consistent manner. If they are not executed in this manner, they serve no purpose. Make the school safe, but not a prison that treats everyone differently in a biased fashion.