Social media threat puts Robinson on lockdown last week

Bhoolai provides a view into the procedures of lock downs used Oct 22 and how students can prepare for them.


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Ella Wertz, News Editor

Last week on Oct. 22, Robinson had a school-wide lockdown and lock-in for four hours causing students to be held in their first period class until 1 p.m.

These lockdowns and lock-ins were caused by a social media threat issued by a student. This threat was seen through a conversation through Direct Messaging on Instagram claiming that a student would bring a gun to school and harm a second period AVID class.

Administration chose not to disclose any information about the student but according to ABC Action News, a 15-year old student was charged with making a false report concerning the use of a firearm in a violent manner. The police found the firearm in the student’s home. ABC said the student denied the allegations at first but eventually admitted to the threats.

However, besides the severity of the threat, the overall procedure went very well in the eyes of administration. The reaction of both the students and teachers aided the process and helped the lock in and lock down run smoothly.

“I think everything went extremely well. One, the students were very impressive with their response. Even the ones that were in the restroom at the time, they knew exactly what to do and exactly where to go,” Principal Robert Bhoolai said. “The teachers’ themselves were phenomenal with making sure the students were secure and making sure that their classrooms were secure and making sure the students needs were being met and that they were communicating with us if they needed something or if the classroom was okay. I think we did a very good job.”

During, the lockdown administrators were investigating the source of the threat and working with the Tampa Police Department while trying to balance their needs and their own safety.

“So we are in a sense doing the same job that you all are making sure that we are also locked down and we are safe in order to be able to make the decisions and gather the information and call the proper people,” Bhoolai said. “We also lock ourselves down so depending on where we are I could be in a classroom with you [a student] or I could be in the main office it just depends on where we are when we make the decision [of] that’s what we are have to do.”

Robinson was inundated with police officers because it is a federal crime to make a social media threat.

According to the FBI website,  “Issuing a threat—even over social media, via text message, or through e-mail—is a federal crime (threatening interstate communications). Those who post or send these threats can receive up to five years in federal prison, or they can face state or local charges.”

This event portrayed why the drills are necessary to keep the students and school itself safe. To prepare for procedures or events like this in the future, student’s should remain active in participating in drills and ask teachers questions regarding plans in a crisis and if they can offer assistance in anyway.

“… it is so important to have those conversations every month when we do our drills with the teachers’ asking them what does this look like in your classroom what can I do to assist in securing the room, is there anything you would like us to do because really those drills are as much as an experience for you as they are for us,” Bhoolai said.

The drills are stressed so much by administration because they believe that students have a right to controlling their own safety.

“You should have a right to know this is how I help keep my classroom secure [and] this is what I can do as a student to make sure that I’m safe and everyone else is safe,” Bhoolai said.

The drills are also used to set up a good system of communication between the students, teachers, and administration. Good communication allows the procedure to happen effortlessly.

“That’s the whole point of doing the monthly drills so I would say the communication piece, make sure that you are communicating with your teachers make sure that they understand that this is what I think as a student, I believe this would work or this wouldn’t work so that you can keep this dialogue open,” Bhoolai said

To improve this plan in the future, the school uses debriefs t0 provide the administrators with feedback to improve processes and make sure that everything is perfect in case of another more severe emergency.

“Well anytime something happens when you have to use a lock down, lock in, lock out whatever it may be, you do a full debrief of the procedure itself, how it went, what could be improved, what was great about it, and then you share that with school security you share it with Tampa Police Department so they can help inform those decisions so anytime we do that even when we do drills the purpose of the people walking around doing what they are doing during the drills is to ensure that if we missed a spot, we address it,” Bhoolai said.