Campus Security: Lockdown

By Tommy Baker ‘19

On November 20, 2017, a man was seen on the mall who looked like he did not belong. A student went over to this man and the man informed the student that he was carrying a firearm. There was no evidence to suggest that this individual was carrying a weapon. This student walked away and told the first adult he saw on campus. Security was informed and the school went into lockdown.

We were all affected by this incident and every student on campus was told to remain quiet in a classroom. According to Mr. Dan Bradesca ‘88, “The response was superior. It worked in the exact way that it was designed.” He went on to say that the student who first responded to this individual acted precisely the way that every student should. When asked about the student, teacher, and student response, Officer Diaz, a school resource office for the Cleveland Police Department, stated, “It was as good as you can get.”

Mr. Richard Klingshirn ‘79, Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, who also oversees campus security, explained that communication is key in these situations. “The purpose of a lockdown is to create a barrier of time to allow law enforcement to respond,” he said. He went on to say that law enforcement may take anywhere from three to ten minutes to arrive on campus, so it is vital that the student body follow the protocol.

This incident had a significant impact on the student body and the administration. Various changes have been made on campus in response to the lockdown. Many students have noticed bullhorns in the senior lounge. Mr. Klingshirn explained that Rade and the Senior Lounge were problematic areas during the lockdown because of the noise levels. As a result, the bullhorns will allow proctors to communicate effectively. A gate between the Senior Lounge and Rade is being looked into for the purpose of securing the area. The security team is also considering an electronic locking system for the exterior doors which will block an individual from entering the building. Finally, the school is examining the most effective methods to communicate with people off campus to inform them of the situation.

Officer Diaz stressed that students must be familiar with the phone numbers on the back of the their IDs, as they are essential to the success of the system. He also encouraged students to take the drills seriously because they are the most effective way to prepare for these types of situations. Officer Diaz reinforced that it is critical for all students who see something suspicious to tell someone immediately.