Monday Morning, Arrowhead on Modified Lockdown for K-9 searches

Maria Francis, Reporter

On the morning of November 12th, there was a modified lockdown at Arrowhead to complete random classroom searches using the Waukesha County Sheriff’s K-9 unit.

It occurred during second period.

At North Campus, Becky Gordon, Arrowhead’s Associate Principal, made an announcement over the loudspeaker informing students and staff that there was to be a modified lockdown. She told everyone to remain in their classrooms.

The common practice of modified lockdowns is used by other school districts, in order to send the message that possession or use of illegal substances will not be tolerated in the school, Debra Paradowski, Arrowhead Associate Principal, said.

“We want our school to be safe and drug-free for everyone therefore we will periodically conduct searches to ensure a safe and drug-free school for you,” said Paradowski, in an email to students.

This was the second year the Waukesha County Sheriff’s Department K-9 drug detection unit went into classrooms. In the past, K9s were used in the parking lots and sometimes, lockers, according to Paradowski.

Both North and South campus were in a modified lockdown for the search. Teachers were allowed to continue class as usual, but not to allow any students leave the classroom. Any students in the hallways were to report back to their classrooms. The lockdown lasted for about a class period [40 minutes].

When a classroom is randomly selected, the teacher stopped instructing and both staff and students were asked to leave the classroom and remain in the hallway outside of the room. During the search, students could not use cell phones and had to remain with the class until the search was finished.

Arrowhead administrators asked teachers to keep on eye on their students while waiting for the classroom search to conclude. They were told if they saw suspicious behavior, to let the staff know while they were with them during the search.

“Everybody had to get out of the classroom and leave all our stuff. It was just the one study hall teacher…Paradowski came over the speaker [at South Campus] and she said just leave all your stuff in the classroom and go sit by the lockers,” said Nora Voght, Arrowhead sophomore.

In an email to staff, Paradowski explains suspicious behavior as “students trying to hide or shuffle something on his/her person.”

“My teacher kind of just told us that there was a lockdown and that we couldn’t leave. No dogs came in or anything. We just couldn’t leave the classroom,” said Kendra Luchinske, an Arrowhead junior.

An announcement was made at the end of the search letting the students and staff know that the modified lockdown had been lifted.

The searches were completed within one class period. A Skylert was sent home to the parents afterwards, making them aware of what took place.

“Please let administration know if you have any questions. Thank you in advance for your cooperation and your continued effort in making Arrowhead a safe and drug-free environment,” said Paradowski in an email.