By MONIQUE VARELA and MARSHALL SCOTT
Citrus Valley High School was put on lockdown during lunch on May 12 in response to an explosion-like sound that went off in the quad by the E-building during lunch.
Students who were around quickly evacuated the premises into nearby classrooms, off campus, or the library.
According to the Redlands Police Department School Safety Reports on the City of Redlands website, “RPD responded to calls of a sound like an explosion on campus at Citrus Valley High School during lunch period Friday afternoon. The campus was placed on lockdown until shortly before 3 p.m.”
Citrus Valley acted fast by putting students on lockdown and calling the Redlands Police Department to come investigate what happened. Parents were alerted when the lockdown happened and were given updates once information was found out through the Aeries parents portal.
Once police arrived K-9s were brought to Citrus Valley to do a sweep of the school to make sure there were no other threats inside the school.
The School Safety Report investigation process states, “Officers arrived and determined that two students had set off a firework. Both students are in custody. No injuries or damage were reported. There is no threat to the school, students or staff.”
Image of Citrus Valley High School after the lockdown was lifted near where the incident occurred. (Marshall Scott//Ethic News photo)
The next day, an instagram page by the name of cv_neverforgetmay12 with a link to a google site was made. The page served the purpose for students to anonymously submit what they were feeling during the lockdown. The account made students feel heard and as if they were not alone in what they were feeling during the lockdown.
At the time of the publishing of this article, both the instagram and google site had a statement that they were no longer updating content.
Karen Ravelo, a sophomore at Citrus Valley said, “I felt as though the account helped me feel more understood. Seeing other students having the same experiences and feelings as I did made me more comfortable to open up about my own feelings during that time.”
The creator of cv_neverforgetmay12 said that they “originally made the account to collect stories from the event. It was also to be able to have recorded experiences that wouldn’t be lost over time. For any change being pushed there’s always going to be naysayers pushing back.”
The creator of cv_neverforgetmay12 also emphasized that their main intent when first creating the account was to have the stories shared by fellow students to help create change and said, “I’m also now hoping it caused some changes in people’s hearts as well,” when referring to the lockdown seriousness.
The account was also made to help movements such as Citrus Valley sophomore Raylene Mejias’ petition to change the hallway policy.
After the incident some parents and students were worried about the new hallway school policy that was put into effect on April 4. The policy made it for the buildings to be locked during lunch and with one entrance to this building. Students are allowed in if they have a ticket which they get from teachers.
Sophomore Hadiel Hamad said, “Yeah, I wish things could’ve gone different. It hurt seeing all those scared people, including myself run from an unknown force. The hallway policy should definitely not be abandoned but rather edited.”
The lockdown started conversations about updating the hallway policy in order to safely get students into classrooms in dangerous situations. The hallways restricted students to be able to enter the buildings to get to safety without security guards or staff opening the doors. Many people expressed concern that if there was a more severe situation lives would be in danger.
Isabella Beaumont, a sophomore at Citrus Valley, said, “I think it was a good thought. I understand why they enforced it. However, I don’t believe that anyone was there to open the doors to let students in during the lockdown. So, I feel that it needs to be updated and modified.”
At the time of the publishing of this article, the hallway policy petition had 642 signatures.
To support students who were feeling upset and uneasy after the incident, Citrus Valley invited therapy dogs on May 15 to be at the school and offered counseling services throughout the day.
The therapy dogs were offered before school through the first period and lunch. The therapy dogs were brought in by the organization, Inland Empire Therapy Dogs. IETD is a non-profit organization that is local and very active in the Inland Empire. IETD arranges for the dogs to be at local schools, hospitals and more community settings.
Extra help by District Crisis Response team counselors was offered in A-114 for students who needed support.
Jake the dog, a new addition to the Inland Empire Therapy Dogs family, visits Citrus Valley High School on May 12, 2023. Jake is a cock-a-poo and recently got his license to be a therapy dog. (Marshall Scott/ Ethic News photo)
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