Faulty alarms increase school awareness


Andrew Tapp

Faulty smoke alarms went off on Feb. 15, and again on Feb. 19, raising worry in some of the staff and students across SHS because of the recent shooting in Parkland, Fla.

Andrew Tapp, Editor-in-Chief

Nikolas Cruz opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School killing 17 people in Parkland, Fla. on Wednesday Feb. 14 after getting in the building and pulling the fire alarm. On Thursday Feb. 15, a faulty alarm system caused the fire alarms at SHS to go off.

When the alarms went off, teachers and students across SHS hesitated to evacuate after the events that had occurred just one day before. According to junior Hollynd Givens and English teacher Dawn Fowerbaugh, students are afraid.

While being interviewed, Fowerbaugh asked her students in her iPass class if they were nervous and a majority of them said “yes.” Givens is one of the many that felt similarly to those students, saying that fire alarms are now scaring her when they should make her feel safe.

English teacher Brian Auger says he didn’t even think about hesitating when the alarms went off. However, his students didn’t move, which then caused him to have to go back in his room and tell them to exit. He also thinks that students are anxious, but he says he’s not.

“There has not been a single day that I have walked in this building and felt that safety was an issue,” Auger said. “I think if you ask any teacher in the building, they’ll tell you the same thing.”

The discussion about school safety among students and teachers has caused the administration to review its protocols and procedures. The faulty alarms are now fixed, according to Assistant Principal Andrew Ashcraft. Ashcraft says that it’s unfortunate that, because of what happened in Parkland, “everyone has a hesitation to go outside with the fire alarm.”

Ashcraft says that administration has reviewed their protocols for fire drills and are now having officers roam outside to make sure nothing is happening rather than sweeping the building and getting students out.

“We wouldn’t have thought of that previously,” Ashcraft said. “Now the risk has changed. Now there’s a greater supposed risk of an active shooter or someone who is upset doing something like that. It’s unfortunate, but it’s good to bring that to attention on our end of how we can keep (students and staff) safe.”