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The Student News Site of University of Chicago Laboratory High School

U-High Midway

The Student News Site of University of Chicago Laboratory High School

U-High Midway

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Community reels from accidental lockdown

Students, faculty felt more prepared after initial alarm
LOCKDOWN+LESSONS.+Students+listen+to+instructions+during+the+planned+lockdown+drill+on+Dec.+6.+On+Nov.+27%2C+Historic+Campus+experienced+an+accidental+lockdown%2C+prompted+by+human+error%2C+sending+many+into+panic.
Eli Raikhel
LOCKDOWN LESSONS. Students listen to instructions during the planned lockdown drill on Dec. 6. On Nov. 27, Historic Campus experienced an accidental lockdown, prompted by human error, sending many into panic.

Following the Nov. 27 accidental lockdown prompted by human error, the scheduled lockdown occurred Dec. 6 as planned. 

For some students and adults on campus, the unexpected lockdown simulated a real-life situation, preparing students and faculty for the planned one and exposing possible concerns about future lockdown drill procedures.

When the accidental lockdown alarm sounded on Nov. 27, junior Juliana Walker was in the bathroom. She had been aware that a scheduled lockdown drill was approaching, but still thought the accidental lockdown was a real situation. 

Juliana said she felt more comfortable with the scheduled drill because of the accidental one.

“I felt really prepared for the drill,” she said. “Our teacher was going over our strategies, and I was a lot more calm today for sure.”

Juliana said students know to stay in the classroom in a planned lockdown drill, but in an actual crisis, they might be outside the classroom in places such as the hallway or bathroom. Juliana said she was planning to run, but a teacher saw her and welcomed her into a classroom. 

She said there should be more instruction on what to do in these situations.

History teacher Christine Fojtik said the accidental lockdown felt like a “practice for the practice.” 

People were much more prepared to do what they were supposed to do, which speaks back to the fact that there is a lot of value in doing these practices in the first place.”

— Christine Fojtik, history teacher

“People were much more prepared to do what they were supposed to do,” Ms. Fojtik said, “which speaks back to the fact that there is a lot of value in doing these practices in the first place.”

“If you’re in a classroom, your teacher or adviser would tell you what to do. ‘Hide in behind this closet, turn off your phones.’ But if you’re in the hallway, you don’t have that guidance and would be left not knowing what to do,” Juliana said. “There should be more instruction because you could be in so many different situations and not know what to do.”

Similarly, ninth grader Giovanni Nicolai said the “run, hide, fight” instruction could be clarified, although he understands the unpredictability of these situations.

He said, “The accidental lockdown kind of showed me that no one knows what is going on, but the planned one went more smoothly, and I think expectations were clear.” 

Juliana said it would also be helpful if the lockdown drill had occurred earlier in the school year because a situation could arise at any point in the school year. 

Foreign language Xiaoli Zhou’s foreign language advisory and AP Chinese class is in a classroom with a door that does not lock. Although she was not in the room during the accidental lockdown, she said it prepared her for the upcoming drill. 

According to Ms. Zhou, the door is in the process of being replaced with a lock.

Ms. Zhou said, “I knew it was going to be replaced, so I just put two desks against the door.”

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About the Contributors
Audrey Park
Audrey Park, Editor-in-Chief
Audrey Park is a member of the Class of 2024 and serves as an editor-in-chief. She began writing for the Midway in the 2020-21 school year when she was in ninth grade. Her favorite story she has written is about University of Chicago nurses seeking solutions for the uninsured. She loves journalism because of its ability to represent and reflect multiple perspectives. Audrey also enjoys reading, traveling and playing card games. Awards: 2024 Scholastic Press Association of Chicago, special coverage: (with Clare McRoberts and Sahana Unni) superior 2024 Scholastic Press Association of Chicago, general feature Story: excellent 2024 Columbia Scholastic Press Association Gold Circle Award: First place, sidebar writing, “Affirmative Apprehension — Expert input: Law professor explains case” 2023 Journalism Education Association National Student Media Contests, San Francisco convention: Honorable mention, online package 2023 Scholastic Press Association of Chicago, news story: excellent 2022 Journalism Education Association National Student Media Contests, St. Louis convention: Honorable mention, editorial writing 2022 Columbia Scholastic Press Association Gold Circle Award: First place, sidebar writing, “Misinformation solutions rely on regulation, media literacy”
Kabir Joshi
Kabir Joshi, Assistant Editor
Kabir Joshi is a member of the Class of 2026 and is an assistant editor. As a ninth grader, he joined the U-High Midway during the 2022-23 school year. His favorite story that he has written is "Movie differentiates itself from others." Outside of the Midway, he runs cross country and loves spending time with his dog. Awards: 2023 Journalism Education Association National Student Media Contests, San Francisco convention: Excellent, review writing
Eli Raikhel
Eli Raikhel, Photographer
Eli Raikhel is a photographer and a member of the Class of 2025. His favorite part of photojournalism is taking pictures of school events. Outside of photojournalism, Eli enjoys playing soccer and playing with his dog.

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