Sparta students had a traumatic experience on November 26 when administration locked down every school in the district for a shooting threat.
Over Thanksgiving weekend, a Sparta High School student shared pictures on social media of guns. Text on the photos said, “Come to school Monday, it’ll be fun.” The posts went unnoticed until Monday morning at which time the administration put the schools into lockdown. Students were sent to classrooms quickly while the police searched for the suspect.
“When I walked in the doors, there were a bunch of teachers shouting at me telling me to run to the locker room,” said junior Reghan Yourell. “They didn’t tell me why or what was going on, and it kind of scared me because I wasn’t sure if I needed to be worried or not.”
Sparta sophomore Savannah Holcomb said that teachers were runnning and shouting which caused a lot of confusion in the hallways.
“We were all scared at that point, and we had our phones out telling our parents we were okay,” said Holcomb.
Once the bell rang for first period, all of the rooms and students were searched for weapons.
“The police started banging on the doors and telling all of us to stand against the wall. They even had their guns out while they were searching everyone, which scared a lot of people,” said Sophomore Ellie Steinhoff. “I wasn’t too worried because I knew that with all of the protection we had in the building that we wouldn’t get hurt.”
The students tried their best to remain calm throughout the event.
“For the most part, the most traumatic parts were in the hallways and when the police banged on the doors,” said Yourell. “Otherwise, we were calm in the classrooms.”
Different rooms in the building had different experiences.
“There were a lot of people crying and having panic attacks in the locker room,” said Holcomb. “It hit a lot of people in different ways, so the whole thing was a big mess of emotions.”
According to Educational Leadership, school shooting threats can cause so much trauma and stress that it may even cause their test scores to go down.
“Some people were so nervous that they acted suspicious involuntarily,” said Steinhoff.
The suspect was still unknown, and they weren’t sure of his location in the building.
“No one knew where the kid was in the school so [that] caused us to be a little paranoid that the suspect was in our room,” said Holcomb. “A lot of people were saying that they felt useless or helpless because there was nothing we could do.”
Most students did not know what to do in these situations because all they could do is sit and wait for the announcement that it’s all clear.
“I think it would’ve been a lot easier on us if we had practiced what we would do and how we would stay calm in this kind of situation,” said Yourell. “I’m just glad it didn’t end badly.”