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The beat of Lemont High School

The Tom-Tom

The beat of Lemont High School

The Tom-Tom

Faculty member accidentally activates old security system

The+security+system+used+today+is+called+%E2%80%9CIntrado+Safety+Shield%E2%80%9D.+It+allows+faculty+to+quickly+and+easily+alert+other+faculty+members+about+fires%2C+intruders%2C+medical+emergencies%2C+general+emergencies%2C+etc+by+the+click+of+a+button.
Julia Mielczarek
The security system used today is called “Intrado Safety Shield”. It allows faculty to quickly and easily alert other faculty members about fires, intruders, medical emergencies, general emergencies, etc by the click of a button.

On Tuesday, Oct. 24, a faculty member accidentally activated the old security system, Volo, subsequently sending out texts and emails to faculty alerting them of an “active shooter”. Because Volo was an old security system, most faculty were unaware of the notification which was only sent through email.

Volo, the previous security system, was replaced by Intrado (the current security system) around two years ago. Because of this, when Volo was accidentally activated, only emails were sent. 

“That isn’t the way we get notified. In fact, that’s not even how the old system worked when it was the main thing,” Matt Doherty, music teacher and assistant activities director said. 

Normally, emails, texts and alarms would be sent to every faculty’s devices. Additionally, local and surrounding district police would immediately be alerted and make their way to the activation point of the security system. 

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Instead of a school-wide alarm, there was little attention given to the “active shooter” alert. New teachers do not even have the old system in their computers and phones, meaning they did not get any notifications. As a result, most classes continued normally. 

However, some faculty members did see the email sent out, but were confused. Doherty and Dave Nommensen, fine arts chair, received the notification during band class.

  “I was on the podium about to conduct something. Then, Mr. Nommensen… said, ‘Hey… check your phone.’ I checked my phone… there was a text and saw it was an email. That’s not how our alert system works. I knew something was weird… it was from the old system,” Doherty said. 

Regardless of the confusion, Doherty and Nommensen treated the alert as a real warning. 

“My instinct was that it was a false alarm but my other instinct was, ‘what if it’s not?’” Doherty said.

Doherty and Nommenson stayed as calm as possible and went into hard lockdown procedure.

“Doherty… sprinted to turn off the lights, locked all the doors, told everybody to be quiet, and then we all went… completely silent,” senior Emily Hunnewell said.

Even though this was a false alarm, for students, the experience felt very real.

“We are all friends, we’re all a family,” Hunnewell said. “So everybody put their arms around each other and was like, ‘what’s going on, what’s going on, what’s going on’… People started crying… it was pitch black.” 

Not only was this frightening in the moment, students continued to feel the repercussions even after the fact it was a false alarm.

“I actually had a dream last night that I was in a school shooting because of that moment. It’s definitely had a lasting impact for sure,” Hunnewell said.

After the nerve-wracking experience, band students were able to find comfort in the response of their teachers.

“I am so comforted with the way Doherty handled it because he reacted so immediately, in such a calm way and such an effective way,” Hunnewell said.

Visit the Tom-Tom to learn more about proper hard lockdown procedure and how it will be initiated.

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About the Contributors
Michelle Karimpumkalayil
Michelle Karimpumkalayil, Staff Writer
Michelle Karimpumkalayil is a senior at LHS and a second year member of the Tom-Tom. She loves listening to music, reading and playing badminton. She also enjoys spending time with her family and friends. She is a member of HOSA, Science National Honor Society and Link Crew. Her favorite subject is science because she enjoys doing labs and hopes to pursue a career in the medical field. Michelle is excited for her second year writing for the Tom-Tom and hopes to have a great year.
Julia Mielczarek
Julia Mielczarek, Copy Editor
Senior Julia Mielczarek is entering her second year of Journalism and is excited to be a copy editor this year. Julia is president of Interact and on the NEHS board. She is also part of SNHS, HOSA and Psychology Club. While not shedding tears over homework assignments, Julia can be found reading books, eating the food that is bought for her and rewatching “La La Land.” Julia also enjoys fall and winter holidays because of the music, decorations and overall good vibes. In the future, Julia plans on going to dental school and annoying her best friend, Leila Rexhepi, 24/7.
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