Demand Better Safety Protocols for Norwich Free Academy Campus

Demand Better Safety Protocols for Norwich Free Academy Campus

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Why this petition matters

Started by Bella Tabak

“Norwich Free Academy entered a lockdown at approx. 10 am this morning. The lockdown ended at approx. 11:10 am without incident. The safety of students and staff is the number one priority…” is part of what the Norwich Free Academy social media pages posted today. What was left out was the experience of the teachers and students. It’s clear that after today, there needs to be a retraining for lockdown drills in order to keep both teachers and students safe. 

NFA Students were placed into a lockdown after they were originally told it was a “Stay Put,” which means there is unsafe weather outside. The lockdown was allegedly due to students bringing weapons onto campus, after rumors were spread around through the student body about students that had guns on campus. The school administration did not give any context to the situation and did not announce that the police were on campus searching for the suspects during the lockdown. The miscommunication made it extremely dangerous for students who were roaming the halls, since they believed it was just a stay put, and then later scolded by unknowing staff to quickly get into a classroom. Many teachers originally thought it was only weather related, and classroom doors stayed open. 

Doors being left open was a common problem, a NFA student said, “Me and [another student] were sitting in the cafeteria and the teachers didn’t do anything about locking the door for over 30 minutes.” Teachers should have known what to do and how to behave in a lockdown situation. Many parents went to the NFA Facebook page to comment their concerns about their experiences. Parents complained that the school did not communicate about what was happening at all, and were told what was happening by their children. One student’s mother even explained that her child was coming into school late and was, “…allowed to walk onto campus, past security guards and police.” NFA staff should have known to make sure that everyone was out of harms way, including people that could have been walking onto campus.

Once the lockdown was lifted, most students went home, but they received an absence in the classes they missed. Students also had a hard time exiting campus if they did not leave right after the incident occurred. NFA will cancel school for the power going out, but will not cancel after students are scared for their lives, texting their parents that they love them just incase they don’t make it home from school today? NFA should care about the well being of their students, they can not expect a group of 14-18 year olds to be able to focus on their school day after a traumatic experience. 

Norwich Free Academy needs to make clear communication a priority in order for students to be safe if this happens again. NFA was extremely lucky that today it was not added to the ever growing lists of high schools with shooting victims. Especially after the Oxford High school shooting that happened only four days ago, students need to know that they can feel safe at school. Today stripped many students of that safe feeling, which is why it is extremely important to make sure during lockdown situations there is clear communication from the administration for the safety of staff and students. We were not the next, but we could have been. We could be the next, if we do not fix it now.

For the safety of NFA staff and students, we would like to see : 

  • better communication with staff in lockdown situations 
  • better communication with parents in lockdown situations 
  • a retraining for staff and students on how to stay safe during an active shooter threat 
  • a place for emotionally affected students to voice their concerns

                                 - NFA Students 

2,453 have signed. Let’s get to 2,500!