Posted by Alana, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Oct 15, 2007 at 1:52 pm
I am a parent of an Amador student. In answer to the AVHS student's question....I'm trying to think of why you weren't told the reason for the lockdown. Maybe they're afraid people will panic and run from the school....or call their parents and have parents driving to school and entering the campus....I'm not sure. It's a good question. Your school's principal should answer it for you.
Posted by Student, a member of the Amador Valley High School community, on Oct 15, 2007 at 2:54 pm
Responding to the 1st comment made by an AVHS student, they did a very good job of keeping us informed without scaring us. They did not announce anything over the loud speaker but they quickly sent out emails to the teachers. Within the first 5 minutes of the lockdown teachers had the email and it was up to the teacher if they wanted to share the information or not.
The email had enough information to give a general idea of what was going on without too many details that may have scared people.
It was not the administrations fault. So if you would like to talk to anyone about why you were not informed it would be your teacher.
Posted by AVHS Parent, a member of the Amador Valley High School community, on Oct 15, 2007 at 5:08 pm
I believe the reason for not telling the students is that if the school were to tell the students, then what would happen if a student actually had a gun and decided to take the matter into his/her own hands within the classroom? The students were told to treat this as a potentially worst case scenario. This is the second lock down Amador has had in the past 4 years, and according to my son the faculty and staff all acted very professionally, and the students respnded with a great deal of maturity. Most had figured out what was going on. I strongly believe he actions of the staff and teachers was the appropriate action to protect everyone from a potential threat. I applaud them.
Posted by AV Alumni, a member of the Amador Valley High School community, on Oct 15, 2007 at 5:37 pm
Sensoring what happens at Amador seems to be in their nature. I graduated from Amador in 2000, and either my junior or senior year we had a bomb threat. I remember it being mid morning and the fire alarm went off and we all had to evacuate to the field. Then 40mins to an hour later we had to back up even more all the way to church pretty much- during all this time students didn't know what was going on and this was before 9/11. A little bit before lunch time we were allowed back in, but not many students went back. A good portion jumped the fences and took off and then majority of the school seemed to be in the office. I remember calling my mom, she came to sign me out (who would want to stay? They found a thermus in a garbage can). Well I remember walking out of the office, clearly holding a slip that excused me to go home, and the prinicple grabbed armed telling me to get back in class. My mom then stepped in and said "get the hell off my son." That was probably my happiest moment in high school. I think it should be manatory to tell students what kind of lock down is going on. Something terrible could wrong if a student freaks out for the wrong reason. Being on lock down is already a tense situation, and not being told why only adds more. Knowing the truth is still stressful, but it puts things into reality as to what could/couldn't happen- a weapon; someone/people getting shot or a bomb; half the school gets blown up. Think about it- if you knew your room was going to get blown up I would rather know so I can say my final prayers, hugs friends that are there etc instead of sitting there in confusion and then all of a sudden be gone. Kind of a weird thing to think about. Anyway, I'm happy nobody was hurt and if it was a joke, those people should be expelled or kicked out of the district. That's not a thing to joke around with.
Posted by AVHS student., a member of the Amador Valley High School community, on Oct 15, 2007 at 10:57 pm
I am a student at Amador. And I still have the same opinion that they should have told us the reason for the lockdown during the fact and not after it was all over. Everybody in my class was freaking out and didn't know what to do. One girl even called her mom and was crying on the phone. And our teacher said he wasn't allowed to tell us why the lockdown was happening. So I was upset the administration didnt tell us the reason for the lockdown until after the fact. They should have been able to tell us what was happening beforehand, instead of waiting until 45 minutes later......
Posted by Alumni of Arroyo HS, SLZ, a resident of another community, on Oct 16, 2007 at 12:59 pm
Cinco de Mayo of 2000, a bomb threat was called into my HS. Seriously ...mass hysteria started because NO SCHOOL PERSONNEL disclosed why were escorted to the football field. Understandably school official do not want kids leaving school campus during any incident but students should be given a choice. The unknown is far more dangerous in crowd control rather than speaking the truth. Most kids are gonna do the right thing and call their parents and go home. Those that would cut school just to cut... would have done it anyways.
Posted by An Amador Parent, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Oct 16, 2007 at 1:05 pm
To the parent who posted the comment, "According to my son the faculty and staff all acted very professionally," According to logic and common sense, there is no way one student would be able to observe ALL the faculty and staff at the high school.
It is also a statement that seeks to invalidate other people's observations and opinions.
Your son observed some faculty and staff's behavior and thought it was professional. Other student's observations differ. All deserve equal respect.
Posted by AVHS Parent, a member of the Amador Valley High School community, on Oct 16, 2007 at 4:54 pm
I have heard of different people calling me, and telling me of what happened at the school. My daughter has also told me about what has happened. I am suprised that kids were now running around screaming. The kids were first told over the loud speaker to not let the kids out at lunch. My daughter said that nobody understood what that meant. Then about 5-10 minutes later they said Amador was on lockdown. I believe they severely mistreated the situation in those 5 or 10 minutes, the person with the "gun" could have been going from class to class, because they knew they were going to get caught anyway.
Thank god nothing did happen, but Amador should seriously change their administrators because I have heard of them mistreating different situations also
Posted by parent, a resident of the Ruby Hill neighborhood, on Oct 16, 2007 at 4:58 pm
amadors administration treated it horribly, they all should be fired. no one knew what was going on. It wouldve been a huge mess if it were real. the horrible joke turned out to be evidence that the administration is horrible and schools need a better plan
Posted by an Amador student, a member of the Amador Valley High School community, on Oct 16, 2007 at 8:32 pm
I am a student at Amador, and I don't feel that the administration did a good job dealing with the lockdown at all. The students were not informed of what was going on, and as for the e-mail that was sent to the teachers, I heard it contained no more information than what was spoken on the loudspeaker: to stay inside and lock the doors. Perhaps informing the students and teachers would have caused some panic - I'm not going to pretend I know what would have happened if we had been informed - but imagine if there really had been a shooting, and students were killed who never got to say goodbye or even let their parents know what was going on. I didn't even call my parents during the lockdown because at the time, the staff was treating it like no big deal, and they wouldn't give us any information. My friends and I thought it was a drill. Looking back on it now, I realize how lucky I was that it wasn't real, not just for my life, but also because I had no idea what was happening, and I would have never even told my parents goodbye or that there even was a lockdown. That's why the administration needs to inform its students.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Oct 17, 2007 at 9:19 am
What everyone is seeing is the result of conflict between two different theories of notification in emergency situations. One theory believes that if you give out too much information then panic can ensue while the other believes that if you fully notify all stakeholders, you've armed them to deal with the situation. Amador is far from the only organizational structure to face this.
There was some incident on BART a year or two ago that illustrated why the first theory is extremely maddening to those involved. BART is notorious for not telling passengers the nature of a problem. People were stuck on a few trains for hours. After the problem was fixed about half the people interviewed by media were really PO'ed at not being told anything while the other half thought it best they weren't told. It was left up to the train operators how much information to give to passengers, like how one person here wrote that the Amador administration left it up to individual teachers.
Given the nature of human beings, if Amador had informed everyone probably half of the student population would have panicked while the other half would have remained calm. People who are informed often-times can help in solving the problem, maybe something that the administration would be afraid of (if they got hurt in the process it would leave Amador open to lawsuit probably!).
I, for one, agree I would like to have been told what was going on. Students who left campus with their parents had every right to. When you don't know what is going on it is probably best to get the **** out. If everyone were to leave, there would be no one left for a shooter to shoot at. But unfortunately, the prevailing theory in these organizations is to not give out information and I don't expect something like a school district to change anytime soon.
Posted by Steve Brozosky, School Board Member, a resident of the Vineyard Hills neighborhood, on Oct 19, 2007 at 5:20 pm
As a School Board Member I have been monitoring the posts here and doing my own research. First I want to thank everybody for posting their concerns and ideas.
Let me first start out saying what happened:
1) Some students heard a rumor that somebody on campus had a gun and was going to use it. There were no specifics on this.
2) The school office heard about this and called in the police to assist in the investigation.
3) Since brunch was coming up, the school decided it was better to be safe than sorry and did a lock-down on the school. This announcement had all the teachers to lock their doors and keep the students in their rooms and more information was being sent to them via email.
4) The email to the teachers had in it what little we knew at that point (item 1 above).
5) Shortly thereafter the threat was found to be not true and students were released from their classes. Before the end of the day, the principal made an announcement on the PA system to all explaining what occurred.
What the district realizes afterwards is what was missing from the email to the teachers was a statement to read the email to the students on what was going on so everybody had the same information on what we knew. This resulted in some teachers telling their class what the email had and others not. With cell phones and text messaging, stories were going all over the place; at the school, and messages to home.
While we had no specific evidence that there was a threat, we treat this seriously and I am sure you would appreciate that we do. The District does practice lock-downs and for this incident, everything was followed as it should be so that shows the practices pay off. I am proud of the way the school handled the situation. What we have learned is the email to the teachers needs to also have a message to read to the students. It might seem obvious now but until you actually do one of these, it might not be a step in the process. Fortunately, we do not have a lot of experience in real lock-downs.
During an incident like this you can imagine, and appreciate, that much of the administration is working on the investigation. We also had a group of people working on the communication as we want to give out correct information but do not want to create unnecessary panic.
I appreciate the comments on this blog as I feel it helps us do a better job. I feel the school staff and the police should be commended for the way they handled the situation. We did learn things that we can improve upon, like consistent communication messages to the students.
I also appreciate hearing from you on your thoughts, experiences and constructive criticism. You can always contact the School Board Members from the Board of Trustee web pages on the Pleasanton School District website at www.pleasanton.k12.ca.us .