This is Not a Drill

Trauma of past violence lingers on our very own campus.


Ayat Irfan, Managing Editor

Every day Junior Jeeya Desai steps off the CTE bus aware of her surroundings as ever. As crisp chills fill her arms, she enters school in fear that a stranger could easily enter our building. 

“Personally, Uvalde impacted me because I often think about how someone could easily come into the school,” Desai said. “I come from CTE and I always find myself thinking of possibilities of how someone could enter the school.” 

Four months after the Robb Elementary shooting, for students like Jeeya Desai, trauma lingers through our very own campus. Haunted by violence, students on campus stroll through the halls each day anticipating the worst that could happen. Administrators worry about the security on campus and school norms have changed. 

“When you look at school shootings in the media, you often view them as something that could happen somewhere far, but you never think it’d happen to you,” Desai said. “When a shooting happened so close to where we live, it really put into perspective how something like this could actually happen to us.”

Only a four-hour drive away, the Robb Elementary disaster, has pushed administrators to further implement extra security, such as locked doors and minimizing third-party visitors.

“Uvalde isn’t too far from here. It could happen anywhere, we can’t control that,” Assistant Principal Rebecca Hill said. “We would come in every day knowing that we’re going to have to focus more on school safety and on making sure that we’re taking care of our family here on campus.” 

All around Texas, administrators are taking charge. According to Dallas Independent School District, mesh or clear backpacks are now required in order to maintain maximum security. 

Even in our own district, administrators have strived to protect our students in the most effective way possible. 

“As administrators, our biggest concern [is] making sure that doors are secure,” Hill said. “That was obviously one of the big missing pieces that helped to cause the situation and Uvalde. A door was unsecured, so he was able to get into a building he shouldn’t have been able to get into.” 

Despite the safety measures administrators are taking, certain students feel uneasy arriving at school every day as a result of the Uvalde shooting and remain extra cautious. 

“It makes me more aware of my surroundings, for sure,” Desai said. “I just find it scary that we could easily be the victims of something.”

Other students remain unchanged by the shooting, as it’s something we, unfortunately, see quite often. 

“I feel pretty safe on our campus,” senior Harini Saravana said. “The Uvalde shooting was scary, but there have been so many shootings in Texas [and] I’m pretty much used to it, which is sad considering it’s horrible that it’s normalized.” 

Due to student concerns, maximum safety has become a priority. Administrators aim to make sure there are absolutely no unlocked entrances. 

“This year, that also includes checking the doors and making sure that they’re still secured. So during every class period, somebody is checking those doors,” Hill said. “And so that means that four or five times per day, every door in the building is being checked by an adult.” 

On Aug. 30, an anonymous student at Frisco High School was charged with a third-degree felony for making threats online over the weekend. In the past year, Lone Star High School shut down for two days due to threats made toward the school’s safety. 

Just weeks ago, on Sep. 16 after first period, students were hustled into random rooms during an unplanned lockdown drill. 

“The lockdowns seem unnecessary,” Saravana said. “A lot of students already know what to do during them.”

Other students believe the lockdowns are helpful, as they allow a sense of safety. 

“I believe that the teachers on campus honestly want what’s best for us. Even during our drills and lockdowns, they know what they’re doing and [are] just trying to ensure that we’re safe,” Desai said. “Heritage has such a great set of teachers and I know that if something did happen, we would be safe because of them.” 

Nonetheless, administrators value the student body and do everything in their effort to ensure safety. 

“We think about you guys like family, and that’s how we talk about it,” Hill said. “[When] we’re in admin meetings, we discuss how we would take care of our home. We want our students to feel safe being here.”

For some students, like Jeeya Desai, that’s still an ongoing process.