A neighbourhood near Correlieu Secondary was in lock down on March 29, and students were asked to remain in their classrooms until more information was given.                                Melanie Law photo

A neighbourhood near Correlieu Secondary was in lock down on March 29, and students were asked to remain in their classrooms until more information was given. Melanie Law photo

Student voice: school safety in a real emergency

Correlieu’s Abby Fisher on what it was like to be on lock down at CSS

Every school I have ever attended has always been staffed with qualified, caring teachers – teachers who look after each student’s happiness, education and most importantly, our safety.

And because of that care, every school in Canada has some sort of emergency drill in place for any situation: fire, earthquake, gas and an immediate threat to student safety.

On Thursday, March 29, I experienced my first real-life emergency response situation.

Nobody knew what was really going on during this major police incident, but everyone had their own story. Before 9:15 a.m. I heard everything from “there’s a bomber at Mac’s,” to “there’s a Mexican stand off in the Baker school parking lot”.

It was hard to determine whether or not the situation was one to be taken seriously, and being teenagers, we all wanted to know what was going on. At 10 a.m. Principal Dennis Hawkins-Bogle came over the PA announcing that the school was on a “soft lockdown,” and that we were all to remain in our classes until further notice.

At that point, everyone was on their phones, talking with their friends, telling their parents what’s going on and kicking the rumour mill into gear.

I felt that the situation was safe enough, but until I knew for sure what was happening, videos from the Florida shooting were flashing through my mind. I contacted my close friends and as soon as I knew where they were, I felt calmer. I knew the situation, whatever it was, would be resolved quickly, but being prepared is never a bad idea.

The crazy stories were still coming in, getting wilder with each minute, until my dear (and responsible) friend Savannah Audet found a link to the story in the Quesnel Cariboo Observer. With social media being so accessible, soon the majority of the school had a real source, and irrational fears were forgotten.

A thank you is owed: to all of the staff at Correlieu Secondary School for doing what they could to keep us safe, to Melanie Law for providing us with the truth, and to the RCMP Emergency Response Team who handled the situation quickly and without casualty. So from the students of CSS, thank you!