Lockout at Herriman High

Unexpected lockout that left students and teachers in the dark.


Image credits: KUTV

On Wednesday, November 9th, Herriman High School was put under lockout. 

It was a nice, cloudy day and I was writing in my newspaper class. It was nearing the end of seventh period when it was announced there was a lockout being put in place.

When the announcement sounded through the school, the majority of faculty and students were confused about the difference between a lockout and a lockdown. We didn’t know if this meant there was a direct threat or if we were safe. Herriman was under a lockout, meaning that the threat was outside the building while a lockdown would mean a threat was inside. The school took action by locking all doors and made it a priority to have all students in a secure classroom.

Students’ reactions were quite shocking. My classmates, for example, were gathered at the window cracking jokes about the situation. Others were completely unfazed. The lack of concern was most likely caused by a lockout in previous years when a cougar was reported on the HHS campus. Students including myself seemed to be more worried about getting to B lunch, rather than if there was an actual concern.  I wasn’t sure how to feel or react because of the lack of information given. Soon after the lockout began, it was announced to remain calm and proceed with teaching as normal. This, to me, came as a wave of relief. If this was a real threat to us, I felt that the school would advise us to take cover and follow harsher procedures. 

It was not until hours after the lockout was lifted, that everyone was told that the gun threat was only an ROTC student holding a prop gun. But, learning that there was a potential gun threat begs the question — did we go about this the right way? What if there were real loaded guns on the campus? If there were bullets shot, would we have been safe? If the threat made it into the campus, would this protocol be enough?

It was important to the school that everyone remained calm, but what was the risk that followed? No one in my class nor my teacher was aware of the exact details of the situation. When questions go unanswered by the officials on the scene, rumors are bound to spread. Students rumored blame on friends, and even rumors of death. A video of the teen holding the gun circulated throughout the school. People assumed suspects and spread exaggerated accounts that were simply not true. By this point, students had more information on the situation than the teachers, which was another contributing factor to the chaos. No one knew the whole truth, only bits and pieces of a rumored story.  By the school not clarifying details it seemed as though the situation was exaggerated and ended up spreading panic regardless. 

In 2022 alone, according to CNN, there have been “at least 607 mass shootings through November 22nd this year.” With school shootings happening more and more frequently, it’s important to know how to respond appropriately. Keeping quiet and calm is the main thing to focus on even if it’s a drill or false alarm.