Usually red days are my favorite

I love red days. I mean seriously, I love coming to school on Red Days. I was walking with my boyfriend at the time to his class, which was World History, and I was walking to English. I was right outside the doors when a security guard grabbed me and told me to go into the library. Of course, I said in a stupid way, “Is my class in there?” Anyways, I heard someone yell really loud for everyone in the hallway to get into the library and there was a huge rush of kids coming up the stairs. I found a few of my friends and asked them what was going on. Along with everyone else, no one knew. We all got in there and everyone thought it was a drill, including me. I’ve gotten
my cell phone taken away a number of times, but after I found out this was real, I pulled it out and I started texting with about 11 different people. A few were even from other schools, telling me they were in lockdown too. After they announced that we were going to be evacuating, I got 4 phone calls. There were so many people in the library. Everyone saw police and SWAT outside in the hall. We were all so scared because of what happened with Virginia Tech.

I found out who reported it. My first thought was honestly that he was doing it for attention, but then I was thinking, “Who would seriously do that for attention?” We were all actually talking about it. How he could be making it up? But it’s not like we said anything to an adult or anything.

I think we were in the library for 3 hours. After we all got really bored, we all pulled out our phones and started taking pictures. Of course, everyone had to go to the bathroom and I saw a few people go in Gatorade bottles. It was weird, but when you gotta go, you gotta go.

I was in the very back corner of the library so I laid down next to a friend and I was probably half asleep when everyone started crowding toward the door. Honestly, I was so happy to be finally getting out of there. So we go
to the Civic Center and we’re seeing all our friends asking them if they’re okay and everything. We all crowd into the Civic Center and when Mr. Jones announced it was false, the whole auditorium moaned and gasped. It was so shocking. I’m just glad it was a hoax because that would have been really scary. My mom called me crying, and she even left work.

– Tierra

Of all the days to leave my phone in my locker

I was sitting in my desk, waiting for the bell to ring and class to begin. It’s not uncommon to have a lockdown or fire drill because it seems like we are practicing them all the time. So when Mr. Jones came on the intercom and said we need to go into lockdown, I didn’t think much of it. It seemed strange because in the hallway everyone was rushing to class. I don’t know why but I wasn’t scared at all, even when we were told a gun was sighted. The teacher shut off the lights and locked the door. Some people took out their ipod and the teacher announced that we could have our cell phones out too. I found out afterwards, that in many classes kids weren’t allowed to use their cell phones. I think that it ridiculous because that is the only way that parents could know what was going on and not freak out. I always have my cell phone with me. In fact, I’m always the person getting caught with it. But it just so happens I left it in my locker that day. How perfect. So, while everyone was texting and receiving pictures of the swat team, I could only watch and get mad at myself for not bringing it to class.

Over the intercom, the principal told the teachers to check their email for information on what was going on. I asked my teacher what it said but he wouldn’t tell us because usually we aren’t supposed to know that stuff. Of course, we were told shortly after that. You can’t expect 2,000 students to cooperate when we have no idea what’s going on. After about 5 minutes, they made an announcement that someone had been sighted with a gun but he had fled the school. We were told that the police were called but we had no idea, until later, how big of a deal this was. We turned on the news but turned the volume down really low. They were interviewing one of the cops and showing footage of the swat team surrounding the school. It seemed that we were really safe because there were people everywhere and rumors of snipers on the roofs near by.

Speaking of rumors, there was a ton. It was impossible to know what was going on because half the information we got was false. We heard there were shots at an elementary school, that the science department had been taken hostage, and that they had found the person with the gun. All of this turned out to be false. You could only trust what we were told over the intercom but they only gave announcements about every hour. On the news, they said that parents could go to a near by grocery store to get more information. I wasn’t sure if my parents would know where to go when they found out what was going on so I called my dad with a friend’s phone. He sounded worried so I told him that we were ok but I didn’t really know much more than him. My friend and I moved across the room to sit with other people. We were all really calm and no one seemed to be afraid at all.

Using the computers in the room, we went to the journal’s site and read the articles that were posted about the current situation. There is a place that you can leave comments, so we did. We thought it would be interesting for readers to see the perspective of the students inside the school. When I looked at the site after the lock down, there were nearly 100 comments. Everyone else had the same idea as we did. It was kind of weird to see that all of the cover stories were about the lockdown and Virginia Tech. It’s pretty sad that that’s all there is to talk about!

After about 2 hours the principal made an announcement that, room-by-room, people would be coming to escort us across the street to the civic center. It took forever for them to get to us! We were the one of the last departments to be evacuated so we had to wait another one and a half hours to leave. In that time we talked a lot and just hung out. Later we found out the whole thing was a hoax. There were mixed feelings about this because some people were happy that we got to miss school, others were mad that they had been so scared, and yet some people, like me, were just angry about how long we had to sit there bored. It was a crazy experience that was actually kind of fun but I definitely don’t want it to happen again.


Sacred Moments

As we were leaving the Civic Center on Tuesday, April 17th, 2007, I was just so relieved to have the whole thing over with that I was smiling from ear to ear…until I hit that parking lot of parents. There were more of them than when we had first been escorted by the SWAT team, and their faces were worried and solemn. My smile immediately melted. I felt horrible for each of them as they were searching every single one of over 2,000 faces to find the familiar face of their child. I was also a little angered as I saw a camera man from who-knows-where looking at us. He too was searching, but his face was not searching for a loved one. I knew instinctively what he was searching for. He was not filming yet because he was waiting for some red-faced teenage girl in tears holding on to a friend for comfort, or a distraught mom hugging her son like she thought he had been lost forever. It just felt wrong and dirty to see him waiting for it.

Later Tuesday night I thought about my job. I thought about those parents. I know they were all thankful for the police and everyone involved in keeping the kids safe, but I wondered if it really changed anyone’s mind about teachers. There is a legal phrase called in loco parentis that means someone (usually a teacher) acts and makes decisions in place of parents who are not present. That is what we were doing on Tuesday. We were acting on the behalf and in the place of parents who could not at that moment protect or instruct their child and keep them safe. And I wondered if people finally got it that we act in loco parentis every day.

– Ms. O’Dell

When it’s serious, call Dad

I don’t have a first block on red days, so I go to school at 9:35. On this day, I decided to wake up early and spend some time in the morning with my boyfriend. We went to breakfast, just hung out at our friend’s house until it was time for school. This day started off pretty routine. I rode back to school with my boyfriend, and that’s when things started to get a little weird. As we were driving up the road to Central we saw a cop car with its lights on…. I teased my boyfriend that “Oooo babe the cops are after you,” and we laughed about it because we didn’t think that anything serious was happening. The cop pulled into the parking lot at school, and we both thought it was weird. The thing that we both thought was more weird was then the cop blocked the entrance to the parking lot. He was getting his books out of the back of the car, and I was looking at the front of the school. There were cops all over the place, security guards at every entrance and administrators all over. I asked him what we should do and he replied, “Let’s go see what all this is about, there is something up and it’s serious.”

At this point we were about 15 minutes late for our second block because we were contemplating weather to sit in the car or to go in. Finally we decided to go to the front. About 35 feet from the door we heard the officers yelling “ Hurry! Run! This isn’t fake! You need to hurry and get in here for your safety!” We ran and ran, we got to the door and basically dove in. We got put in the ROTC room and couldn’t see a thing. At this point we had no clue what was going on… all we knew was to sit down shut up and we would hear more when the time was right. Then I heard the voice of Mr. Jones come on the intercom, saying what was going on. The terror that I felt, when I heard the words “…someone in the school with a gun…..”, could not be told with words.

The only thing I could think of was that I need to tell my mom and dad that I love them. I texted my dad and told him what was going on and what I knew, and told him to call mom and tell her what had been going on. I ended my text with “I love you’s” and that was it. He sent me back a single text that said “ Ook Sam, I love you……see you soon.”

– Sammi

Hear Sammi read it: Sammi’s Story

A gun and a flashlight in the window

I was just sitting down in the photography room before class when the announcement came on to go into lockdown. We moved over to the corner of the room and shut off all the lights. For the first 5-10 minutes we were pretty quiet but then there was nothing really going on so we started talking and moving around and then Mr. Jones came on the intercom saying that the teachers were going to receive an email in about 2 minutes. Our teacher never told us what the email said but he made us be quiet again and said that we needed to take this more seriously, that’s when I knew it wasn’t just a drill.

A little bit later Mr. Jones came back on the intercom and was telling us what was going on. About a minute after that is when everybody started getting text messages and phone calls from their parents and friends. At first we were trying to hide our phones but then after awhile we just didn’t care anymore, our teacher said we were going to tie up the phones lines with all the texting going on. I got a text message from my mom saying, “Hey I heard there are a bunch of cops at your school. Anything going on?” I told her that there was a guy that came into the school with a handgun and that the place was surrounded with cops. She wanted to make sure everyone was ok and to keep her informed. Then my dad called me and asked what was going on and if I was alright and to keep him updated. Then I started get text messages from friends from Douglas and Stevens and old friends that I don’t even talk to anymore asking what was going on.

Pretty soon, we started hearing a lot of rumors, like they found a gun on the 2nd floor, Mr. Vernon got shot, and that there was a shot fired and Grandview Elementary. After sitting there for about an hour and a half we were starting to get bored so we laid down on the floor to get more comfortable and were listening to music and the news and watching movies on peoples iPods. Then at about a quarter to 11 Mr. Jones came back on the intercom and told us that the building was safe and we were going to start evacuating over to the civic center at 11 o’clock.

At 11:17 we heard the bell ring for 2nd block to be over and about 10 minutes after that we saw the yearbook room light turn on. We were just sitting there watching the window waiting for them to come get us and all of a sudden you could see a guy pointing his gun in the room and shining his flashlight on everybody. That’s when I got scared and knew that it wasn’t just a joke. Then they walked and Mr. Murphy said “Its Mr. Murphy please let me in.” So we all started getting up and the guy in the S.W.A.T. uniform told us to stay there and he started talking about how we were going to line up single file with our hand on the shoulder of the person in front of us and we were going to walk out to the hallway and wait till we were all ready to head over to the civic center.

We had to make sure we were quiet in the halls and when we got outside everybody was loud talking about everything and looking at all the cop cars and seeing all the parents across the street. When we got into the civic center we went in sat in the stands and I kept getting calls from my parents and my sister and I was texting everyone but we didn’t get a lot of good service cause everyone was on their phones. At about 1:20 Mr. Jones came in and told us they found out it was fake. Everybody in the arena started yelling and getting mad but he said the good news was that we got to go home; everybody started cheering but then he said there was bad news: we might have to make up that day and that’s when everybody started getting mad again. He said they would be going back to unlock the school so students get their keys or whatever they needed. He finally let us out of there and our section was the first one out so we were out of there by 1:30.

– Stacy

I went to find my parents

My teacher in the lock down was Mrs. Moore. We had been left in the care of Ms. Ducks. We went to our classrooms when the bell rang like normal. When the principal told us we were to go into lockdown mode we didn’t know what was going on. As the time passed we eventually figured out what was going on. We were all crammed in the back room of the science department. Luckily I was by my friends. We were barely able to sit down.

We sat there for a long time then we were allowed to return to the classroom where most of us took the whiteboard markers to write on the “witeboard tables,” which occupied us for the last hour we had to sit and wait to be evacuated. Once we were evacuated we went to the Civic Center where we sat down and immeadiately were told it was all a hoax and that we might have an extra day of school because of it. After that we were allowed to leave by the letter of the area we were in. My friends and I were sitting in letter F. When we got out side it was a battle just to get to the edge of the street. When you finally got to the street you could either cross and get your car and things from the school (if you were the lucky ones with a car) or you could start walking up the street to find your parents. I went to find my parents.

– Elizabeth

Are they unsafe if I make their phones ring?

I wasn’t here for the lockdown on Tuesday, but as soon as I heard about it, it was all I could thing about. I was so worried for the people in the school, I wanted to inform and talk to the people I knew, but at the same time I wanted to ensure their safety by not making their phone ring. Although I did feel worried, at the same time I felt like there wasn’t really a threat. I was told that it was a “shooting” as in someone had been shot or was in danger of being shot, instead of just a threat. Thoughts were racing through my mind like worries about not seeing someone close to me again. It was the first time in my life that I actually felt that there was danger present. Its hard for people who haven’t had something so dangerous happen in their life to comprehend what it feels like. All I can say is that its like a shot of adrenaline and a shot of thoughts through your mind. Its scary.

Though my feelings during the period of danger were intense, as soon as I found out it was a hoax, at about 2:30 my thoughts were even more intensified at the person who would make something like that up. I felt like an outcast not being there for my peers and family, but it still effects you deeply. If it had been more than it really was, I would have been thankful that I wasn’t there, but still mad that I couldn’t be there to try to make things better for classmates or family.

– Andy

No kidding – no knots in my stomach

It wasn’t a special morning, just a regular ole day. First period was over with and I couldn’t wait for the other three periods to be over and done with. I was already in the classroom when all of this was going on. I turn to my left and I see everyone outside the classroom door running for his or her lives. I thought Ms. O’Dell was messing around with them because she was standing in the doorway exclaiming to “hurry up,” with a big ole smile on her face. I had no idea that we were in a lockdown because I was too busy chit-chatting with others in the classroom. I saw Mr. Sheehy shut the door very quickly. He takes his keys out of his pocket and locks the door. Immediately after that, the lights shut off. He walks to the front of the classroom quietly, and tells everyone in a whisper tone, to quiet down. He said that we were in a lockdown, and there was a possible gunman in the school. I was confident that if I had to pick any other classroom, this would be it. So just because of that and Jesus Christ, I had no fear what so ever during this whole situation. No knots, butterflies or Goosebumps.

Another thing that calmed us down a lot was we being able to use our cell phones, watch T.V. (no sound at all until the news showed us), and listen to the radio through headphones. When you are in a dark room in a corner with every other student and nothing to do but think, that scares a lot of people. When you have things to occupy you, this stuff gets taken off your mind, you breeze through it with no fear. We got moved to the civic center and had the story repeated to us by Mr. Jones. He told us that about 30 min. ago the student had admitted to the story being false. Sad but true, and actually it is kind of good it was false, you know what I mean?

– Kitric

Two days later, filled mostly with gratitude

Last Tuesday, we had to stay in the English Room for three whole hours. At first, I thought it was a drill, but it actually turned out to be real. Yea, it did turn out to be really nerve-racking for us. We had to get out of the building swiftly, across the street, and into the civic center. It was another surprise that Principal Jones stated that the statement
appeared to have been phony. Now we had to make up another day of school, which is reasonably a shame. I am not angry with the kid responsible with the incident, but I am really ashamed that he turned out to pull an acting job on the personnel, i.e. crying, while reporting. I do believe it turned out to be ironic. However, I am glad that it did not involve anything brutal or violent, but just a false statement. That meant that our school was more alert, and that it gave all it can to keep us safe.

Even though there was a three-hour lockdown with no bread or restroom breaks, our class was still safe. Yea, it did scare me that we were going through a very cautious state, and that the man would come barging into our classroom, but I pulled together, along with everyone else. And yes, I did not appreciate much of the loud noise that our whole class
was making. I am glad we were able to do something during the three hours of hiding, though. I am glad that Mr. Jones was able to inform us and tell us the right instructions in order to vacate the school quickly without any struggle. I am glad that Mr. Jones stated that it was actually false. I feel sorry for the kid who pulled it off, because I know this is going to be even tougher for him, as what it actually was for us. I just want to thank Mr. Jones and all the other people who helped us get to the Civic Center safely. I praise He who was able to salvage us into a safer place, and that we are still on our feet today.

– Ian