Administration focuses on security, implements lockdown drill

Michael Vermeulen, Staff Writer

A break in the monotonous grind of the school day does not come around often. But an opportunity finally emerged during seventh period when Headmaster Mark Desjardins’ voice went on the loudspeaker, signaling teachers to turn the lights out, students to quietly line the wall and security guards to patrol the school.

SJS underwent a lockdown drill Monday, Feb. 2. The drills are now a major test of school security, which the administration is strengthening.

“Safety and security is the top priority that we have as an administrative team,” Dean of Students Stephen Popp said. “Working in coordination with (Security Coordinator) Officer Richard Still and his team, these lockdowns are very important to ensure that in the event of an emergency we know how to keep students safe.”

This year was not the first time that the school has performed a lockdown, but the faculty underwent a completely new experience.

“This year, Officer Still and his team decided that the teachers should stay in their classrooms with the students,” Popp said. “‘They wanted to replicate the drill as it would happen in the event of a lockdown by just letting the police and security personnel address the situation.”

The administration feels strongly about the drill’s prevalence at other institutions, including public schools.

“It is very possible that these lockdown drills will be mandated in the near future,” Popp said. “We are ahead of the curve on this issue, but in many schools the drills are becoming as ubiquitous as fire drills.”

The drill’s occurrence during the middle of a class period has not irritated the student body.

“It was not a huge inconvenience at all,” junior Saul Malek said. “A reinforcement of procedures is really important in the event of an emergency.”

The administration is pleased with the maturity of the students concerning the drills.

“We know that there is a natural tendency for some students to go into a relaxed state because of the nature of it being a drill, but I was impressed with how the kids responded and maintained silence for an extended period,” Popp said.