Valentine’s Day Code Red


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Seminole County Sheriffs Office and other law enforcement personnel respond to the code red lockdown on February 14.

Porter Huyck, Staff Reporter

On Feb. 14, at about 8:30 AMValentine’s Day high spirits turned to fear as a code red lockdown was declared. Students and teachers followed oft practiced procedures, turning off lights, locking doors and moving to the safe corners of each classroom. Some students piled desks in front of doors as makeshift barricades against intruders. Meanwhile, personnel from the Altamonte Springs Police Department and Seminole County Sheriff’s Department secured the campus.  

The lockdown and law enforcement response were prompted by a Snapchat video reported by students which showed two girls in a bathroom on campus, one of whom was holding what appeared to be a handgun. After searching the campus and safely detaining the students in question, officials determined that the weapon in the student’s possession was a BB gun and did not pose a serious threat to the safety those on campus. 

“The training and preparation that the Altamonte Springs Police Department, in collaboration with the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office and the Seminole County Public Schools is what allowed us to have the successful outcome we experienced today,” the Altamonte Springs Police Department said in a statement posted on Facebook. 

 With tragic events at schools across the country, educators have been increasingly vigilant about the safety of staff and students on campus. Florida in particular was impacted by the Parkland shooting exactly two years prior to this incident, which claimed 17 lives and prompted the increase in physical and procedural campus security. The changes are most clearly seen in the new fences and gates that surround the campus and the increased frequency of lockdown drills to prepare staff and students for the worst. 

This is something that we were preparing for and everything we’ve put into place worked beautifully,” Principal Brian Blasewitz said in a statement to reporters for WFTV Channel 9 after the incident. 

Regardless of the preparation for these events, some feel that the underlying issues that put students and staff in danger still need to be addressed to confront these problems at the source. 

“I feel that we need better protocols on helping students with their mental health,” freshman Bella Laudner said. “Things like these happen mainly because people can’t deal with bad thoughts or traumatic experiences, and we as a school need to be more engaged in helping our peers cope with negative emotions. It’s not even that we need a program or something that costs extra funding that we don’t have, but more that there just needs to be a better established administrator-student relationships, so that the kids here can actually trust a staff member that can do something that other people can’t for them.”