Written by: Macie Movsesian
On Thursday, October 18th, there was lockdown issued for Tulare Western because of an active shooter scare. An alert was accidentally set off announcing that there was an active shooter near the bus circle.
It was issued around 8:48am and lasted until about 9:05am. What was suspicious about the situation was that when the alert was cleared around 9 o’clock, it was activated again soon after. That sent students and teachers spiraling.
Being a student present during the alert, I think that our school was prepared for the situation when it happened. It was a tricky situation to deal with let alone being calm and not adding stress to the situation. The teachers have been through intense and extensive training. So they were prepared for it were to happen and they knew what to do to keep the students safe.
What had happened to cause the alert was that a teacher from Tulare Tech Prep accidentally typed in the active shooter code that was then sent it over to Tulare Western and the nearby schools. It was technically a false alarm but it was still a real situation that caused everyone to be anxious and nervous about their futures.
There was a national earthquake drill scheduled for 10:18am that same day but Tulare Western canceled it due to the active shooter alert that sent many students into a complete mess. About 260 students (1/6 of the school’s population) left school for the day within 30 minutes after the alert was issued and cleared.
Delainie Carrasco, Tulare Western junior, says, “It was a scary situation. Our classroom was right by the bus circle where the alert was issued to. We also had a sub and she was just as confused as we were about what to do and that wasn’t the greatest feeling to have in a situation like that. Luckily, everyone was okay and it was fake. But, knowing that it was a real alert and not a drill had people in my classes crying and shaking in fear of what could happen.”
Jill Sozinho, a teacher at Tulare Western, shares, “I have been teaching at TW for 19 years and I’ve never experienced that kind of threat before. There was supposed to be an earthquake drill so it was a weird coincidence that it happened that day. My plan, in the case of an active shooter on campus, would be to have the class escape with me out the nearby gate and run inside houses across the street. However, with the alert being near the bus circle, that plan wouldn’t work out. I had to make a new plan which was to barricade the door, hide, and listen. I had a class full of freshmen at the time and I was glad to see how they stepped up to help me barricade the door. We locked the door, turned off the lights and sat together. I quietly explained to them that it might be a false alarm but still explained to them our plan. I tried to stay calm so they would feel secure. Being freshmen, I was impressed at how mature and helpful they were in the situation.”
Heather Rodriguez, a new teacher at Tulare Western, shares, “My first instinct was to get all of my students hidden. They were awesome and knew exactly what to do- they turned off the lights, barricaded the door, and hid. My plan was to hide and be very quiet but to be ready if someone came into my room. My scare factor was at a 10 with 10 being the scariest.”
Students & teachers were afraid of what could happen to their future that day. That day we learned to ALWAYS be prepared for what could happen.