FHC responds to lockdown

Four days into the new school year, with new students still adjusting to life at FHC, Principal Sonny Arnel came onto the loudspeaker at 10:08 a.m. and announced a lockdown. In the seconds afterward, senior Brendan Sullivan, and students like him, reacted to the news with urgency.

“I just did what you normally do; I went and hid. I didn’t know how serious it was. Like freshman year it wasn’t in the school; it ended up being a bank robbery,” Sullivan said.

Mr. Lucas Lammers, the new associate principal, agreed the lockdown proceeded pretty smoothly, especially because there has not yet been a lockdown drill this year.

“Within a minute-and-a-half [of the announcement], we had everyone out of public spaces and view. Teachers and students did a remarkable job and handled the situation with appropriate seriousness,” said Mr. Lammers.

Even though students and teachers reacted so well, after any type of situation like this arises, administrators meet to discuss problems or what could have been better.

“I sent an email to teachers that said that this was a community threat; some took that as everything being okay. So I needed to be more clear,” Mr. Lammers said.

In an email from the district that was sent to the community, the lockdown came after a ‘suspicious adult male’ was on campus at Francis Howell High.

“After being confronted by the school resource officer, the individual left the campus. The school resource officer initiated a lockdown. Law enforcement began looking for the individual, who was believed to have gone to the Francis Howell Middle School area. The SWAT team arrived at Francis Howell Middle School and did a sweep of the school … Eight district buildings in the area were placed on lockdown as a precaution,” the email said.

Sullivan, who was in Physics with Mr. Ryan McCoy at the time of the lockdown, felt pretty safe and calm thanks to teachers and students taking the lockdown seriously and following the proper protocol.

“I heard it was at Francis Howell Middle, so I wasn’t worried. There [were] plenty of places to stay at and everyone was hidden out of sight. I felt fine. I felt safe,” Sullivan said.