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Student newspaper of Strath Haven High School

Panther Press

Student newspaper of Strath Haven High School

Panther Press

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Lockdown lifted, student concerns linger

The late morning lockdown on Dec. 8 lasted approximately 45 minutes, but student reactions to the experience continue to emerge.
Julia Gray

Updated Dec. 21, 2022

Shortly before 11 AM on Thursday, Dec. 8, the high school announced a lockdown over the PA system. 

This lockdown was “a precautionary measure” according to a tweet by the Wallingford Swarthmore School District.

According to a community letter from the superintendent, Dr. Wagner Marseille, “[they] received a notification from a staff member that a student may have a weapon in their backpack at approximately 10:45 AM.” 

Immediately following this notification, the school initiated lockdown procedures. 

According to an update from the Nether Providence Police Department, “the student was identified and, following a brief search of the building, his backpack was located in a classroom, and a replica handgun was recovered.” 

“Per our policy, a replica or look-alike is considered a weapon,” said Marseille in his community letter. 

After the replica handgun was recovered, the student was taken into custody. 

The appropriate charges will be filed in Juvenile Court, according to the Nether Providence Police Department update

The lockdown lifted at 11:32, and the school resumed a regular schedule with adjusted lunch schedules. 

According to the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP), the perception of safety or risk, even absent of a real threat, can have an affect on students and staff. “Attending to the developmental and psychological well-being of students and staff before, during, and after lockdowns can help minimize the potential for unintended harm,” their website states.

Ms. Dana McBride, the school’s Safety and Security Director, thought students did a good job staying calm during the lockdown.

“The students did a great job, they used what they have been taught for years and executed that,” McBride said. 

Still, senior Luke DiBonaventura was stressed during the lockdown. He struggled to communicate with his loved ones. 

“My biggest concern was if it was an incident in a different area in the building because of my siblings,” he said.  “I couldn’t send any outgoing texts or receive any texts because of a lack of service.” 

Senior Imogen Sharif also couldn’t contact her family members.

“I couldn’t even connect with my brother who was in the school building. He had lunch and I wanted to know if he was in a teacher’s room or the cafeteria. I was so worried for him.” 

Sharif also struggled to contact her parents during the lockdown, causing stress both for her and for them. “They thought I died and were freaking out,” she said. 

Senior Lydia Pita said she only got a couple of messages to her family because the reception was so poor. “It was scary because I wanted them to know I was okay,” she said. 

The lack of reception caused fear for Pita. “It was really scary to feel very isolated and not be able to communicate with anyone,” she said. 

During the lockdown, DiBonaventura received most of his information from his teacher. “I didn’t receive any communication until the announcement that told teachers to check their emails,” he said.

After this announcement, some of DiBonaventura’s worries decreased. 

“My teacher, Mrs. Freeman, went around and told everyone the situation. That was relieving,” he said. 

For both Sharif and DiBonaventura, they struggled to find comfort after the incident. 

“I think there was a weird sense that, because the situation turned out to be less of a threat than we all initially believed, that all the experiences that students had just gone through were not real,” he said.

Sharif shared similar experiences. 

“Most teachers acknowledged that it was shocking but just continued as usual,” she said. “The communication was mostly just teachers saying that everything was okay but, honestly, it didn’t help very much.” 

DiBonaventura said that public speaking teacher Mr. Kevin Haney’s approach to talking about the lockdown was helpful to him.

“Mr. Haney gave a very nice speech to my public speaking class about the incident itself and let us voice some of our concerns,” he said.

He wishes these types of conversations were happening more. 

“I think it is a necessary conversation to have. I think it is easy to want to brush it under the rug, because it wasn’t the situation we originally thought it was, but it was still a situation,” DiBonaventura said. 

NASP advises that schools should provide an opportunity for students and staff members to share their reactions after the experience.

Following the lockdown, a message was sent to families regarding the nature of the incident, but there was no direct communication to students from district or high school administration.  

In his community letter, Marseille praised the high school’s response. 

“I would like to commend our students and staff for following all safety protocols, and our law enforcement partners for their quick response,” he stated. “I would also like to thank our families for their cooperation as we responded to the incident.”

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About the Contributor
Julia Gray '23, Editor-in-Chief
Julia Gray is a senior and the Editor-in-Chief of the Panther Press. When she is not working on the newspaper, she likes to dance, read, and play with her three dogs.
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    Jane BlystoneDec 9, 2022 at 6:30 pm

    Great breaking news coverage, Julia!

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