Saugus High School conducts lockdown drill

Teacher Danielle Polanco, left, instructs students to head to the back of the classroom and sit silently on the floor during a lockdown drill held at Saugus High School on Thursday. Dan Watson/The Signal

At 11:18 a.m., the Saugus High School campus is usually bustling with 2,450 students moving between classes during the school’s daily passing period.

However, things were different Thursday morning when the high school conducted its annual 12-minute lockdown, active shooter, drill.

In less than 60 seconds, the busy campus descended into silence as students ran into the nearest classrooms and buildings, seeking shelter and practicing what they would do in a real lockdown situation.

“No, don’t run that way, come inside now,” one administrator told students rushing past her open door.

Once safely inside, students sheltered in place as teachers turned off lights and locked doors as officers from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station secured the campus.

Dave Caldwell, public information officer for the William. S. Hart Union High School District, said the students are drilled on the motto and procedures of “Run, Hide, Fight” throughout the school year.

“That’s why we do these things,” Caldwell said.  “So kids are aware and can have discussions about what they can and cant do in these situations.”

The school also works with the SCV Sheriff’s Station to review proceedings and provide recommendations.

Administrators continuously review the methodologies of the drill, finding new ways to expedite student response and protect everyone on campus, including visitors.

Just last year, the district installed “Lock Bloks,” a device that quickly locks and secures doors without the use of a key, on most of its facilities’ doors, according to Caldwell.

For students at Saugus, the possibility of a lockdown drill is all too real.

Just last year on Nov. 18, a brief lockdown was issued at the school when rumors circulated that a student was armed on campus.

The incident turned out to be a hoax, but it reaffirmed the importance of preparedness to ensure safety and the necessity to take drills, like the one on Thursday, seriously.

Twelve minutes after the drill began on Thursday, a voice came over the loudspeaker giving students the “all clear.”

At 11:30 a.m., the campus was bustling again, as students continued on with their days and made their way to their next classes.

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