Following Parkland, DHS Reiterates Lockdown Protocols

Hannah Wills, Reporter

Parents, students, and teachers have expressed concerns about the effectiveness of lockdowns and security.


The DHS administration as well as the district processed these concerns and are deciding on new protocols that ensure the safety of all the students and staff at DHS. But do students really feel safe while they are at school? Are they aware of their part in preventing these emergency situations?


“The innocence of our youth is on the line,” said Kathy Morris, Safety and Security Coordinator for 9R Schools..


Safety and Security Coordinator for the district, Kathy Morris, evaluates all the vulnerable aspects of school security. Administration provided classrooms with emergency response guides, but is everyone actually aware of all the tools that are provided in in them? She created the Emergency Response Guides according to the “I love you guys” website. This website provides the resources to safely defend yourself and inforce preventative measures.

“School safety is everyone’s responsibility and kid’s lives matter,” said Morris. Morris strongly believes that everyone has a part in ensuring the safety of themselves and everyone around them- everyone is a first responder, not just those that are actually certified.


DHS assistant principal Brandon Thurston, attended a school security meeting that DHS sponsored that included law enforcement, emergency responders, school administration, and community stakeholders to discuss what staff and students could expect as a response to an emergency situation.


“It is great to see so many people interested in working together to keep our kids and our schools safe,” said Thurston.


School Safety advocates argue that it is important to make people in the community aware if there is a situation going on at the high school so that we are able to get the help we need. Interagency coordination between all school stakeholders are working together to address this concern and brought new ideas to the table.


9R school district Superintendent, Dan Snowberger, voices that the community has a variety ideas to address the concerns, that we need to share opinions to make those decisions in order to keep the students safe.


“We have a group of parents right now that would like to close our high school campus, that want metal detectors, that don’t want to have students be able to leave the high school during the day, that have to be checked in like at the airport. We have some people that want our teachers to be armed with weapons,” said Snowberger.


School Board Member Mick Souder, shared that the community has become more concerned since the Sandy Hook, Aztec, and most recently, Parkland shootings. It is forcing people to confront the issue at hand with not only concerns, but new security measures.


“We don’t want to turn our schools into prisons, but we want to keep students safe. What is reasonable? There are different points of view on what reasonable is,” said Souder.

Not only are parents and teachers concerned, but students have also experienced an increase of anxiety while at school. They also have questions that need to be answered.

So. Kaytea Mahan briefly attended school in Aztec and knew many of the people in the shooting which has forced her to rely on her instincts to help keep herself and friends safe. She also has questions about situations that have not been discussed, such as: why teachers don’t discuss protocols in every class and unique situations.

“In third hour I do know where [to go] and the rest of my classes I have no clue where to go. What happens if something happens during lunch, what happens during passing periods, or just before school, or just after school when kids are in the hall?” asked Mahan.


It is crucial that students know that school is a safe place where they can learn and socialize without having to be afraid.

Teachers have also expressed concerns, especially those in the West Wing, where the security guard position has been vacant since the fall semester. Additionally, there is the issue of students propping doors open. Not only are they putting themselves at risk, but they are putting other students at risk as well.


David Weisfeldt, Social Studies teacher at DHS, thinks it is important for everyone to communicate with students so that they are prepared in the case of an emergency situation. All students and staff need to be aware of all the protocols in order to be ready in the case of a situation at DHS.


“There is no such thing as ‘it can’t happen here’” said Weisfeldt.