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False Alarm Leads to Lockdown Scare

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FHN hallways are still and silent during the lockdown on May 9.

FHN hallways are still and silent during the lockdown on May 9.

Photographer Jordyn Kiel

Photographer Jordyn Kiel

FHN hallways are still and silent during the lockdown on May 9.

By Sarah Zimmerman

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“Lockdown, lockdown, lockdown.” Three words that sent the building into a silent understanding. When the initial silent panic wore down in students’ minds and the rumors crept in, students realized it was not a drill.

Unknown to the faculty, a silent panic alarm button in the attendance office had unintentionally gone off, due to a mechanical issue. According to Assistant Principal Erin Steep, the false alarm in attendance sent a signal to the office to go into lockdown, leading to the announcement and interior lockdown, during sixth hour on May 9.

“I thought it was a drill, and then I realized that they didn’t say drill,” junior Carson Hackney said. “[I felt] scared and I prayed.”

While most classes immediately listened and followed the lockdown protocol, some students didn’t quiet down until time passed and phones began to blow up with rumors speaking of police officers and intruders.

“I think because we didn’t know exactly what was going on, there was a lot of unknowns,” junior Sarah Moore said. “You can go straight to the worst case scenario, especially considering the events of the past couple years.”

While no one ever tried to enter the building, teachers and faculty quickly reacted to the lockdown announcement, pulling students from the halls, turning the lights out and locking their doors. Without knowledge of the situation, many teachers even grabbed a tool as a weapon or barricaded doors, trying to keep their students safe from any potential threat.

“I think they did a good job considering no one really knew what was going on,” Moore said. “There wasn’t much they could do, but the teacher I was with was really calm and followed their training.”

After about 25 minutes, the lockdown ended when the police officers and administration determined the building was safe and the alarm was false. Students were then released to seventh hour classes.

“They did a really good job,” Steep said. “It’s a scary situation, because you don’t know what’s going on, but everybody did exactly what they were supposed to do. We’re proud of them. They did a good job.”

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About the Contributors
Sarah Zimmerman, FHNtoday Staffer
Sarah Zimmerman is a junior and a member of the publications program and the FHNtoday Web staff. After taking Journalism 1 and being pushed by friends already in the program, she joined staff sophomore year and has found a place writing and copy editing for both the North Star and FHNtoday. In the program she...
Jordyn Kiel, Adviser
Jordyn Kiel is in her second year of advising and teaching at Francis Howell North High School in St. Charles, MO, and is also a 2009 alum of the FHN program herself. Along with advising the yearbook staff of 30, working to create a 320-page book, she teaches introductory journalism and photojournalism courses. She also...
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False Alarm Leads to Lockdown Scare