Glen Rock doors shut, classes continue, and bags line hallways during unusual lockdown drill

by Hailey Nirenberg, Staff Writer

On Friday June 6th, students at Glen Rock High School listened as Mr. Arlotta, GRHS Principal, conducted an unusual lockdown drill.

During second period, students were instructed to place their bags outside in the hallway. What made it different from a normal lockdown drill was that teachers were able to continue teaching and continue their lessons during this time.

“This was a pre-planned event, as a matter of fact it takes months to actually put something like this together,” Mr. Arlotta said.

What really got students buzzing was the question of why this drill was taking place.

“The purpose of it is, obviously, it’s really to ensure the safety of students and staff, and certainly we don’t want drugs or firearms or anything else in the school,” the GRHS Principal said.

“There are dogs that are trained to sniff these things out, so the purpose of it is to really make sure it’s not in our schools, because it doesn’t belong here,” said Mr. Arlotta.

As students remained in their classes, a team of sheriff’s from the Glen Rock Police Department and their canine units did a thorough sweep of the school.

“I think certainly with what has gone on in the community, both Glen Rock, New Jersey, the United States, the increase of heroine use, things of that nature, I don’t think it makes us naïve that it’s definitely a part of our world as well,” Mr. Arlotta said.

This type of lockdown drill has never been done during Mr. Alotta’s time as principal here at GRHS, however, the students and he both believe the first one went well.

“’I’m very happy with the way it went, because it was a new experience for our students and staff, especially the whole idea with the backpacks and everything,” Mr Arlotta said. “But honestly the drill went perfectly, everybody cooperated, so from the drill aspect we couldn’t have asked for anything better.”

On the other hand, sophomore Tim Fink had a different opinion.

“They made it seem like it wasn’t a big deal. They made it seem like it was a normal lockdown, and us throwing our backpacks in the hallway was obvious and kids could have just taken their stuff out of their backpacks and put it in their pockets,” said Tim Fink.

Sophomore Maddy Doubet questioned the efficiency of the drill, as well.

“I understand why they did it, but it just seemed really sloppy. It didn’t seem like it was planned out very efficiently, just throw your backpacks in the hallway and lock your doors,” said Maddy.

Yet not all students were opposed to the drill.

“I thought the lockdown drill took good measures to ensure the safety of our school,” said Erin Jones, GRHS sophomore.

And as for the teachers who were unaware that the drill was taking place, most thought it was good practice for possible events.

“Certainly I know we always have to practice for the potential of something like that happening, so obviously it was the first time we’ve done a drill like that, so certainly it has to happen for real to see if that procedure is effective,” said GRHS history teacher Mrs. Martin.

And as for a drill in the future: “We will periodically work with our Police Department, and anything we can do proactively to try to keep it out of here I think we’ll do it,” Mr. Arlotta said.