Students React to the School Lockout


Maroon Staff

A lockdown on May 21st causes Scarsdale High School students to have diverse reactions and thoughts.

On Friday, May 21, Principal Kenneth Bonamo declared that the school would enter lockout during 4th period, while refraining from giving students and staff any additional information. The administration advised students to stay inside of the school, asked people to refrain from entering the building, and canceled all after-school activities. Eventually, the incident culminated in an early dismissal for all students, who evacuated the building simultaneously at 1:05 p.m.  While the faculty received a brief explanation over Zoom afterschool, most students were still kept in the dark. It was further revealed that on Friday morning the administration had learned of a conversation that included “a potential threat of violence,” which forced the school to take safety protocols.  The administration claimed that the threat was neutralized enough for everyone to continue attending school normally on Monday. 

When it was announced that the school would be going into lockout, widespread confusion spread among the student body. “I heard about a bear. I heard about a guy smoking pot. There were some other animals [threats],” explained Eliana Zitrin ’22. Most people were also unclear what the procedure for a lockout was, as the school has never done a lockout drill. “The announcement was during my math quiz and rattled me. I thought it was a shooting,” exclaimed Ben Ewing ’22.

The school had good reason for refusing to disclose information, as false rumors could have led to potentially dangerous situations. In an email to SHS on Sunday, May 23, Superintendent Thomas Hagerman addressed the need for keeping “security and legal parameters in mind” when dealing with the threat. “Fox Meadow went into a temporary lockout when a member of a community called to report the presence of a bear, stemming from a series of posts on social media,” said Hagerman in his email to the school. 

The complete lack of information makes coming to conclusions difficult for many students. “I don’t know what [the threat] is so it’s hard to measure if there was a legitimate reason for being secretive,” said Zitrin. “They could have been a little more clear. My entire class thought that it was a lockdown because we’d never heard of a lockout before,” she added. Other students advocated for more clarity from the school regardless of the situation. “I had mixed feelings on Friday. [The school] definitely had a lot to manage, but being kept in the loop would have eased a lot of the stress that students were feeling,” said Shamolie Panjwani ’22.

With rumors spreading like wildfire, there was still no idea as to what the cause of the lockdown was. “At first we thought it was a lockdown and it was really scary. And then, we found out it was just a lock out, where we couldn’t leave school. [The situation] was still really confusing because we had no information about what was going on,” said Parker Mauro ’24. “I heard many different things from so many people, and I didn’t know what to believe,” she continued. 

Students remained patient as they remained on SHS campus until 6th period, when everyone was dismissed. As everyone poured out of the building, armed policemen lined the Brewster and Post Road entrances. Ultimately, students and their parents went into the weekend with a lot of unanswered questions. It wasn’t until Sunday afternoon that Dr. Hagerman formally addressed the community in light of the situation. Hagerman reiterated that the school’s primary goal was to ensure that all students were kept safe and added that sharing more details would only compromise the effectiveness of the school, but students still would have liked more transparency.