ERHS Responds to Nationwide Gun Safety Concerns


Mural of a girl with a mask, framed by testing kits and KN95 masks. Photo courtesy of Camryn French

Augustina Alapa, Staff Writer

On Tuesday afternoon, November 30, 2021, 15-year-old sophomore Ethan Crumbley was arrested for killing four students and injuring eight in a mass shooting at Oxford High School in Michigan. On December 1, 2021, he was charged with terrorism, murder, and other counts and will be tried as an adult.

The news of the shooting devastated the nation and shed light on the ongoing controversy over gun safety and school shootings. The Oxford shooting was the deadliest shooting of 2021.

The week before winter break, a nationwide school shooting threat on social media prompted some ERHS students and students across the country to stay home.

Though nothing came of the late December threats, violence hit closer to ERHS when on Friday, January 21, 2022, a student was shot at Magruder High School, just 30 minutes away in Rockville, MD. A 17-year-old student was taken into custody and is facing charges of attempted murder. The police confirmed that the threat never became an active shooter case and no other students were in danger; however, students and staff were in lockdown for three hours.

The continuous threat to student safety at schools nationwide has sparked conversations among the ERHS student body.

ERHS has safety measures in place in case a school shooting were to take place. One of the safety plans is a lockdown drill. Mr. Shands, Assistant Principal at ERHS, states that “the goal of [the] [lockdown] drill is to build everyone’s capacity for implementation.” He adds that “just as with fire drills, lockdown drills are a way to ensure that if an emergency does occur, all are well-prepared and knowledgeable of their role in the process.” Mr. Shands concludes that lockdown drills “occur 2 to 3 times a year.”

During the lockdown drill, the lights are turned off, doors are locked, and any window is covered. Students are told to hide under their desks, in a section of the classroom away from the door, or if possible a separate room which some classes have. This helps students avoid being seen by a potential threat. Moreover, phones are to be shut off and students quiet. This is to avoid any detection.

Ms. Seyler, an English teacher at ERHS, states that students are made aware of the “lockdown procedure during lockdown drills,” making sure students know what to do and how to stay safe. She further explains that the drills provide comfort and “peace of mind by letting people know there are procedures in place.” In addition to the lockdown drills, red locks were installed on every door that allow teachers to lock the doors from the inside.

Though safety procedures alleviate some fear and students are aware of the procedures, the news of extreme violence remains shocking and keeps students aware of the potential danger. ERHS students continue to engage in conversations about gun safety through clubs like Students Demand Action which advocates for gun safety laws and measures to keep students safe.