Today, Oct. 2, marks one year since the Niles West lockdown where an Airsoft BB-type pistol was uncovered. Since that day, multiple changes in West lockdown procedures have been put in place. The new protocols serve as a reminder to students of what took place last year.
To first address the issues, a security discussion was held during an extended homeroom back in Aug. 2018 to review protocols with the students in order to better prepare them for potential lockdowns and drills.
“We’ve had to review our policies, our procedures, everything that’s going on in the building to keep us safe,” Assistant Principal Mark Rigby said.
Since the discussion, one lockdown drill has occurred. Senior Lauren Brace thinks that West students now take the drills more seriously due to the incident last year and sees a difference in the way people act.
“They [the students] were quiet and kind of just sat there, whereas in past years people would be really loud during the drills,” said Brace.
Junior Christian Mancino agrees that the drills are now taken more seriously this year due to last year’s events.
“I think that now when we have lockdown drills or any sort of drill we take it more seriously. Last year made me feel more worried and nervous when I came into school. Anytime there was an announcement during the day or anything it made me feel really uncomfortable,” Mancino said.
On the other hand, senior Jack Shimabukuro hasn’t witnessed many differences this year when it comes to the protocols.
“Besides some of the posters and the assembly, I haven’t really seen any changes,” said Shimabukuro.
Shimabukuro thinks that the main difference seems to stem from the overall student body and atmosphere regarding potential threats.
“At least for me, there is a little more uncertainty or panic that I feel whenever I hear an unusual bell,” Shimabukuro said.
Brace agrees that students are apprehensive when unusual bells sound.
“People seem more on edge. Like when there’s an unusual announcement everyone kind of holds their breath for a second until it’s clear it’s just about a club meeting or something,” Brace said.
Spanish teacher David Malatesta has noticed an overall change in the way students act as well. The school has come together when it comes to ensuring the safety of the students.
“When we did have that lockdown, they took it seriously. I think everybody is maybe a more vigilant because it was a real situation. One of our primary concerns is keeping the student body safe. I think that the administration, the security guards, the students themselves and the teachers have done a very good job of that,” Malatesta said.