Safety incident repeats itself

Wayde Hamilton Jr working the Commons security desk

Wayde Hamilton Jr working the Commons security desk

Reilly Roth, Contributing Writer

On Sept 30, 2021 Solon High School (SHS) had their first lockdown incident. A bullet was found in the boys locker room of the school’s auxiliary gym. The school went into lockdown for a total of five hours. It was not until Fri, Oct 7, 2022 that a similar incident occurred again. A bullet was found in one of the upstairs girls’ bathrooms. With only an announcement over the school PA system, the school was not put into lockdown like the previous year. Parents and staff received an email about the situation stating that the situation had been handled by administration.

When a security concern is brought to the staff’s attention, Principal Erin Short expressed how ensuring safety in the building is their first step in handling the situation.

“Security concerens require us to get the appropriate people involved and begin following our safety/security procedures,” Short said. “Those individuals are the high school administrative team, our director of security, superintendent, communications director and the Solon Police.”

Short was unable to answer why there wasn’t a lockdown for this recent incident. However, Short emphasized that in order for this not to happen again, it’s important that students are reporting any concerns.

“We take the responsibility of keeping our students and staff safe very seriously,” Short said. “We constantly review and update our security procedures. Part of this process is reminding students of their responsibility to share information with a trusted adult in the building if they ever see or hear anything that appears to be a safety concern.”

SHS Safety Director of Security, Jay Bender, prepares safety procedures by purchasing and upgrading safety equipment like locks, doors and building access.

Bender said the staff is trained to be able to react in the correct ways during those kinds of situations.

“But when we have an educational lockdown like we have in the past, “[those that handle the situation include] the head administrative people like the superintendent, principal, myself, etc,” Bender said.

Most of the safety procedures involve the security staff that are working inside the school, including Solon police that patrol at SHS.

“For our day to day operations, we contract with the Solon police department to provide officers during the day,” Bender said. “That’s just [a] regular course of business for us. Now, in a situation where we need them, we have them provide us with extra manpower.”

Although safety is a main focus and priority within the school, students still feel shaken up by the incident.

Patrick Burns working the Pool Lobby security desk

Senior Anthony Giallanza feels that the experience from the 2021 lockdown was traumatic.

“We were in the school for a very long time, sitting in the same room for hours. That almost happened again this year did scare me. I sometimes feel unsafe in school, even though I know we have a lot of security and police in the school. But, anybody could walk in with anything. We really don’t know what could happen.”

According to SHS counselor, Cynthia Russell, the conversation surrounding the recent incident sparked an “increase in anxiety” through the use of social media.

“The use of social media became problematic because students were able to transmit photographs, and contact parents and people outside of the school before some of the administration even knew,” Russell said. “It’s the not-knowing that caused the anxiety.”

Despite some students feeling worrisome about the incident, some students feel that the school has done a good job with safety measures.

“So obviously I was a little nervous when I heard about the incident that happened this year, but I feel very porteted and safe in this school because of the immense amount of security and police we have in the school at all times”. Senior Emma Pfunstein said.

The concerns of the students and staff regarding safety can be taken to Jay Bender or Principal Erin Short for more information. Additionally, any help needed regarding anxiety about the recent event or safety concerns in general can be talked about with a school counselor.