Continuous high velocity tones heard throughout New Haven School classrooms and the playgrounds shortly after 11 a.m. Monday signaled students and teachers they were experiencing a “lockdown,” alerting them to evacuate the playgrounds within 60 seconds.
Teachers went to their doors waving their students into their rooms while classes that were in session saw their drapes drawn and doors locked in case it was more than just a drill on their North Austin Road campus northwest of Manteca surrounded by almond orchards.
Principal David O’Leary has held previous drills designed to keep his students from harm as has school safety officer Sam Gallego who was at the school to watch the drill procedure.
As the alarm sounded the office staff locked the front door and custodian Dottie Washington ran through the building closing all the blinds so that the interior office staffers could not be seen by anyone attempting to get into the administrative offices.
Officer Gallego left the office back door to eye the procedures taking place in and around the classrooms and the playground area as did O’Leary. The officer checked all the doors to make sure they had been locked and the window coverings as well along with the custodian and the principal.
It was a perfect 60 second drill, he said, with all the students having successfully responded to the alert that sounded over the intercom system and the teachers doing exactly what they were expected to do in response.
Gallego visited a second grade classroom after the “all clear” sounded and chatted with the children. He said he was pleased to see they knew exactly what was happening and recognized the need to respond quickly.
School safety officers Steve Harris and Gallego have been assigned to 15 elementary schools in the Manteca district where they have overseen other lockdown drills in past weeks.
At New Haven, this was the second drill Principal David O’Leary has conducted in recent months.
Some Manteca school have been locked down during the past year when there is police action taking place in the close proximity of the campus or when there are reports of shots being fire in the area.`