BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) – Boardman High School held its third annual Legacy Lockdown — a schoolwide drill that not only teaches students and faculty about what to do in an emergency but recognizes those who respond to the calls.
This time, it was a drill and the hope is it will never be anything more than that.
“This school does a fantastic job of working with us in every aspect but including this to figure out the best way we can make the most out of it,” said School Resource Officer Supervisor Sgt. Michael Sweeney.
The lockdown tradition began following the 2018 Valentine’s Day shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Friday will mark the two-year anniversary of the tragedy.
Seventeen students, teachers and faculty lost their lives that day. Boardman High School students created the event to honor the lives lost and the first responders who were there to help.
During a lockdown, doors must be closed and locked. Lights need to be turned off and all of the classrooms must be silent.
Once the drill is over, Boardman students line the halls to honor their local first responders. This part of the tradition is called “the Spartan Clap-Out.”
“It’s a unique opportunity to be able to interact with the kids on this level and it means a lot to us, their appreciation,” Sweeney said.
Boardman Police and Fire, as well as the Mahoning County Sheriff’s Office, came back for another year. However, it was the first time for St. Elizabeth’s Emergency Room staff.
“We love being recognized as first responders, although we are more first receivers but we still play an integral part,” said Jennifer Clutter, nurse manager for St. Elizabeth Youngstown’s emergency department. “If, God forbid, anything were to happen with the school, we want them to know we have their backs.”
For nurse Renee Whippo, being at the lockdown meant more than being recognized. It was a comfort knowing her children are protected.
“I honestly thought this experience was very surreal and it was very interesting to see the background and everything that goes into it,” she said. “Having a son here is just — it makes you reassured that everything is going to be taken care of if something were to actually happen.”