It’s an ALL CALL but an undefined message

Imagine you are in the 5th period High School classroom at an approximate time, 11:39 AM and on a campus of 3,034.  Many of the students are anxious as their lunch period at 12:20 PM time is rapidly approaching, keeping their attention on their working assignment is important.  The students desire for lunch is shattered with a male voice sounding on a PA, Public Announcement system.

A voice, out of the blue, sounding rattled, high strung, unable to catch his breath while speaking with stuttering dialect, sending everyone to the back of their classrooms and lay on the floor; instructing to “get small” “doors locked” and “lights off”.  Trained as we are the students and the teacher know immediately a serious confrontation is about to occur.  The classroom in total assumes the position of security and safety allowable by the four walls can provide.  Each individual with thoughts running through their mind of what is going to happen next?

The silence in the classroom alone is startling.  In observation of the students, their facial expressions and some being teary-eyed scream outs, “WHAT’S NEXT?”  minutes seem like hours, questions arise who was that that made the announcement? As no one recognizes the voice.  Is it a game? Is it a drill? Is it the real thing? As the minute’s drag.

We are losing track of our time, people, students are calling their parents on their cell phones in mass.  The parent’s shock is evident and in mass, they are calling the school seeking information.  The school feedback is coming from individual parents and scary yet, each has a story, explanation different from the next.  Some hear a fight in the quad and make mention of a possible gun(s).  Others state there are additional fights in the building but can’t be confirmed.  Chaos reigns in terms of explanations.

Catherine Barrett is an Arizona Governor’s Master Teacher and currently Chair of citizens initiative petition, A Classroom Code of Ethics For Public Schools K-12. You can find her on Twitter @ReadersLeadPD, and on Facebook at Yes4Ethics.

Some parents were irate as they stated, ”they just got voice mail .”  Overall the added communication spurred small panics across the classroom.  Suddenly the silence was broken with an all-clear message.  Time is hard to measure was it five minutes, ten minutes, in our minds it appeared to be hours.  Then, to learn that there were additional activities taking place around the campus and security team were attending to them.

The next item of importance each person seemed to express was,” how soon can we get out of here and the anguish and pure shock of the event.”

Later to learn with many, it just didn’t go away or get dropped as the impact was still there later in the evening and not just one but many families in this Phoenix community.

About Catherine A. Barrett 9 Articles
Catherine Barrett is an Arizona educator and chair of the Classroom Code of Ethics organization.