‘Not a drill’


DaNita Griffin

Prosper High School held students for six minutes during a lockout today, Sept. 12. “The tone of his voice,” senior Mya Peterson said of an announcement made by assistant principal John Boehringer, “made the situation feel real.” A suspect was taken into custody.

Gianna Ortner-Findlay, Reporter

Prosper students experience school’s first lockout of year

Due to a possible threat, the school went into lockout at 1:56 p.m. today, Sept. 12.

The district’s police department initiated the lockout due to reported information. According to an email sent to parents, a suspect was taken into custody.

“We are in lockout,” assistant principal John Boehringer said over the school announcement system during Eagle Time, which is between seventh and eighth periods on the schedule. “This is not a drill.”

Students and teachers then followed district procedures for such an event. Lockouts are performed when a threat is present in the area.

“The tone of his voice,” senior Mya Peterson said, “made the situation feel real.”

In a lockout drill, students are expected to get inside, get behind a locked door, and continue school work as usual.

“The lockout is lifted,” Boehringer said at 2:02 p.m. over the school announcement system. “Once again, the lockout is lifted.”

For six minutes, Peterson and fellow students waited for clarification that they were safe.

For the school to be prepared for an emergency at all times, drills are conducted for them to practice what they should do in an emergency. Today, students experienced a lockout, that was not a drill, bringing attention to the very real threat of an active shooter situation. In 2019 alone, statistics show that shootings and other violent attacks are on the rise. From k-12, the average student performs upwards of 15 drills per year, every year until they graduate.

“It kind of boggles my mind,” Boehringer said. “That (students) live in a world where (they’ve) done lockdown drills since (they) were in kindergarten.” 

Drills and safety meetings are put in place monthly, and even weekly, to ensure that parents feel safe enrolling their students in school. Although students know the drills – fire, lockdown, tornado,  lockout, and hold – there are other steps that they can take to ensure the safety of themselves and others in the event of an emergency.

“The first thing is to follow the instructions of their teachers,” Boehringer said. “We learn from drills the same way a sports team learns from drills.”

According to him, without the key element of practicing safety procedures correctly, drills would not work.

According to Boehringer, if students are learning in an environment where they don’t feel safe, they will not learn or have the focus needed to achieve academic success.

“Safety is our first priority,” Boehringer said. “If we don’t have safety, we don’t have education.” 

Students also should report to authorities when a situation has escalated beyond a joke or a threat.

“We cannot solve a problem we do not know exists,” Director of Security and Prosper ISD Police Department member Jody Woolverton said.  

Teachers, administrators, and the district’s police officers want students to know that their safety is a priority.

“We’re reliant upon information,” assistant superintendent of business operations Greg Bradley said. “Students are our lifeline.”