It seems that nearly every time you turn on your television or open your web browser, another school shooting has happened in America.
There’s no telling when, where or if another one of these horrific events will occur, but becoming knowledgeable of such situation is about as well prepared as one could be, and this past week, students at the Hood River Valley High School were educated on how to react to a school lockdown.
Joel Ives, school resource deputy, explained to students at HRVHS that those who are coming to the school should always enter through the main doors of the school so that they must go through school officials at the main office before entering.
On Thursday, May 10, HRVHS conducted a lockdown drill and assembly led by law enforcement officers from the Hood River Police Department, Oregon State Police and the Hood River County Sheriff’s Office.
The high school practices emergency drills monthly, three of which are lockdown drills such as the one on Thursday.
However, with the overwhelming reoccurrence of these school shooting over the past few years, an assembly was also added after the lockdown to further discuss the drill and school shootings.
The lockdown drill began immediately after the sixth period bell at around 11:05 a.m. on Thursday at the high school.
As the duration of the drill went by, classrooms were evaluated one-by-one and cleared by school personnel and law enforcement officers from the Hood River Police Department, Oregon State Police and the Hood River County Sheriff’s Office.
Once the campus was cleared by law enforcement, teachers were asked to move their students to the gymnasium for a short assembly led by Joel Ives, school recourse deputy for the Hood River County Sherriff’s Office.
Ives started off his presentation by recognizing the students’ efforts and willingness to corporate with law enforcement and school personal during the drill.
What followed was a conversation about scenarios that may occur that the drill on Thursday did not go over, such as if a lockdown is called during passing period, lunch or while outdoors.
“We give you guys an option for what to do — however, we want you to understand that if you know more, if you see or hear something that’s telling you that walking out of your classroom isn’t your best option, you have the freedom to do what’s best for your personal safety,” said Ives.
He then went on to discuss four main points that law enforcement and school faculty wanted the students to learn.
First was access control.
“Access to campus is a big deal,” said Ives. “People who aren’t supposed to be here, we want to prevent them from being here. If you see someone walking around that doesn’t belong, tell somebody.”
After explaining access control to the students, Ives then put a pause to his presentation to recognize all the law enforcement officers who had helped run this drill.
Ives then moved on to what he stressed as the biggest point of them all: “If you see something, say something.
“We aren’t the ones who find out first, you guys are,” said Ives. “How many stories have you read about in school shootings where other students came out after the fact and said, ‘I knew something was up about that person, I saw something on their social media’?”
He went on to explain that if law enforcement is contacted of suspicious activity, they’re not out to make that person’s life miserable, but instead investigate to ensure the safety of this community.
“We need you to understand that if you see something, you need to say something,” said Ives.
The third point was to take responsibility of your school’s environment, an example of which is bullying.
“We need to decide as a school that we will not tolerate a culture were bullying is okay,” said Ives. “We have to make that decision for ourselves and then we have to act on that decision.”
The fourth and final point of the assembly was, “Nobody gets left alone.
“The culture of this school has to decide that we’re not going to pass by those who are sitting alone and ignore them, acting like they don’t exist,” said Ives. “There are people in this room right now who feel alone... I’m not saying they’re prone to violence, but they need someone to touch base with them and say, ‘I see you.’”
Ives ended his presentation by thanking the students for their time and letting them know, “I am here for you,” and that he believes in the student’s ability to change the culture that’s associated with high school.
As the assembly came to an end, students were sent back to their classrooms to gather their belongings and head to lunch.
Just another day of high school in America.