The student news publication of Libertyville High School

Drops of Ink

The student news publication of Libertyville High School

Drops of Ink

The student news publication of Libertyville High School

Drops of Ink

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Lockdown readers recently installed

Hannah Boufford
Given recent events, such as mass shootings, lockdowns have become necessary safety practices in schools. While buildings just a few decades ago worked on developing fire safety, the focus has shifted to lockdown procedures. Similar to a fire alarm, lockdown pads allow for easy access to safety protocols school wide at the simple scan of a key.

Starting this year, a new security system has been in effect at LHS. This system was updated over the summer because the administration felt that it was time for an upgrade. It includes the new door lock systems, fob keys, intercom system, and brand-new lockdown pads that you may have seen in the hallways.

“We’re always trying to make our system, make our process the best we can make it,” School Resource Officer (SRO) Mr. Robert Uliks explained. The key pads on classroom doors allows for there to be a similar key fob for each door, rather than the old system, which contained multiple types of keys due to different additions built onto LHS. Network manager Temple Murphy helped lead the technical aspect of the lockdown system, said Assistant Principal Eric Maroscher

“Temple makes the connection of all of the moving parts to this system seem easy to manage and program, when in reality there are many, many technical challenges to this new system,” Mr. Maroscher said.  “Without Temple’s expertise, we would not be nearly this far along in implementation of this project as we are today.”

The new lockdown pads allow teachers, subs, and administrators (those with key fob authorization) to lock down the entire building with just a swipe of a key (the same key that unlocks their door, in fact). Though all outside and most inside doors are often already locked, the new system allows for steps — such as teachers manually locking their doors — to be taken out of lockdown process, making it overall more smooth and efficient.

Students are not able to trigger lockdowns so that pranks cannot be pulled, so if they see something suspicious, it should be reported to the nearest teacher. Mr. Uliks said he believes that students can be the best resource for knowing something is not right.

To initiate a lockdown, the protective casing around the pad must be lifted. When this happens, a shrill, chirping alarm goes off in the case, notifying people around the pad that a lockdown could be imminent.

“That just lets everybody that can hear that know that someone has opened that pad,” Officer Uliks said. “So if kids are playing around and they open that key pad box there, we know it’s been opened but then you hear that tone, and right away you think, ‘Are we going into a lockdown? Are we in a lockdown?’”

After the key is swiped on the pad, the school is immediately thrown into a full lockdown. The whole security system is alerted, and the intercom siren begins to go off.

“Time is everything in a situation like this,” Mr. Maroscher said. “We can look into [what triggered the lockdown] after we know all the students and staff are safe.”

Click to enlarge infographic.
Hannah Boufford
Click to enlarge.

Once the lockdown is initiated, there is a small window of time before the door lock system locks itself. This means that, excluding select administrators and first responders, no teacher can open any door in the building. It gives people in the hallways time to find a room for security, and it protects against the threat of someone obtaining a set of keys and gaining access to classrooms.

“Your doors will stay locked in a lockdown until a first responder, so myself or another police officer, actually goes to that room to make sure everyone is okay and checks it out. That’s the only way you come out of the room in a real lockdown,” Officer Uliks explained.

At the same time that the announcement begins to play, various other aspects go into effect as well, according to Mr. Maroscher. For one, automated emails are sent to VHHS, the district office, and other places, alerting them that LHS has entered a lockdown. Along with the intercom playing, blue strobe lights have been installed around the school, particularly in places where it may be hard to hear. The cafeteria, choir room, woods workshops, gyms, and pools are among these places inside the building. Outside lights keep others from entering the building (such as gym classes and seniors on lunch release).

“Having a number of areas in the building to lock down from as well as having eventually all staff with the capability to lock down the entire building works toward our goal of having a proactively safe and secure building for students and staff,” Mr. Maroscher said.

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The student news publication of Libertyville High School
Lockdown readers recently installed