Durant High School Goes on Lock-down after Threat to Campus


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Durant High School's campus

Preston Jones, Staff Writer

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. – After the recent arrest of a student at Plant City High School for bringing a loaded gun in his backpack, a 16-year-old student from Durant High School reported seeing a gun on Durant’s campus. However, during a lock-down of the school, the student called back his claim, and the information he gave turned out to be falsified. The Durant student was arrested and charged for his false report of a gun and his disruption of the school’s function.

On Thursday, Jan. 25, Durant High School experienced a school lockdown during 3rd period in response to the report. The lockdown itself lasted for roughly four hours. During the lockdown, students were kept within their third period classrooms to wait for further instruction by their teachers.

As soon as the threat was made towards Durant, the Hillsborough County sheriff’s deputies took action and encompassed the school’s entire campus, on watch for any suspicion of a gun in response to the information that was later proven fabricated.

Although the situation was stressful, many students on campus found the situation to be handled efficiently.

Durant senior Eric Collins safely spent the hours of the lockdown in his classroom. He explained that the situation was handled very well by the County sheriffs.

“(The deputies) set up the metal detectors quickly and they got everyone through the process relatively easily,” Collins stated.

During the school-wide lockdown, the Hillsborough County sheriff’s deputies searched the entire campus with metal detectors. They proceeded to check every student locker for the presence of a weapon; however, no weapon was found. The search was called off once it was proven that the report of a weapon on campus was false.

Durant senior Brandon Cessna also felt very safe with the security that was in place.

“We went through the metal detectors and then were guided into the gym to wait for instructions,” Cessna explained.

Not every student felt that the situation was handled well, however. Some students spent hours in their classrooms with no reprieve—even going to the bathrooms was not allowed. It was difficult for information to flow to all the classrooms during such a stressful time.

Even though the report of a weapon was concluded to be false, the systematic measures of security kept Durant safe.

Durant High School teacher Mike Stone watched over his third period class before Stone and his class were escorted to the gym. From the gym, Stone was in charge of directing students into the stands, while simultaneously being available to answer questions from students.

While the security was structured in a systematic way that was able to accommodate the school in an unfamiliar situation, there were ways in which it could have improved.

“As someone who was helping to implement the plan, I would’ve liked to have had greater communication with those who were making the calls,” Stone explained.

Many teachers agreed that there needs to be more communication in the event of a similar emergency in the future.

Despite teacher suggestions for similar situations that might arise in the future, Stone added that he felt very encouraged that what happened was handled so well at Durant.

“I found it comforting that if the situation had been worse, we would have been okay,” added Stone.

Students agreed that they felt safe on campus, despite the threat.

Even though the lockdown was caused because of a falsified student report, the event ended peacefully with no harm to students, faculty or staff.

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