On Tuesday, Sept.1, a code yellow lockdown was initiated at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The code was called at 10:38 a.m., and lifted at 12:59 p.m. However, this was only one of three code yellows called during the week, with the others occurring on Thursday, Sept. 3 and Friday, Sept. 4.
The calls came from the same individual, who was determined to be from China. He or she had contacted the school via telephone and threatened to come to MSD, thus prompting the codes.
“MSD is not able to prevent calls from coming into the school,” Principal Michelle Kefford said.
A code yellow signifies a potentially threatening situation to the facility. Although there is limited movement during this procedure, normal activities within classrooms continue. During the school year, students and staff practice code yellow and code red drills on a monthly basis.
With the COVID-19 pandemic resulting in online learning for Broward County Public Schools students, many are quarantined at home because of social distancing guidelines. While some teachers also chose to stay at home to educate, others have returned to their physical classroom environments. Because of this, some teachers on campus were present when the code yellows were called. They were notified via their communication protocols, specifically through the Remind app, a popular communication platform used by educational institutions.
“We hear the [public address system], and we get the Remind that we’re in a code yellow. Limited movement. The message was that there’s been a potential threat [and that] there’s more police presence,” AP Capstone Seminar teacher Andrea Kowalski-Rospierski said.
Furthermore, the Broward County Sheriff’s Office and FBI were contacted. During each code yellow, all procedures outlined in the district and MSD safety plan were followed.
“My basic response [to the code yellows] was just stay put. My heart starts beating, and I have to talk myself down a bit,” Kowalski-Rospierski said. “It was really nerve wracking; I was a little bit on edge the whole day. It wasn’t a great day.”
Overall, there was no threat to any MSD students or teachers, but the code yellows did leave some teachers shaken up. The faculty on campus are safe, and the security team will continue to monitor all activities throughout the week.