Student and Teacher Reactions to the Soft Lockdown

Lindsey Schmidt and Anna Davis

Arrowhead, in cooperation with the Waukesha Police Department, conducted a search of the school including classrooms, lockers, and the parking lot. 

K9 units specially trained to search out illegal substances were used as a large part of the search.

According to Children’s Wisconsin, adolescents are using drugs more due to societal norms and pressure from peers. These teens stunt their growth, physically and mentally, and often face issues in their adult lives due to drug problems as children.

With the growing popularity of drug use among teenagers. The use of school-based prevention programs is encouraged by Children’s Wisconsin, along with education and skill training. 

The school was put into a soft lockdown—meaning students were not allowed to leave the classroom but teachers were allowed to continue class—to keep students out of the hallways. This allowed the K9 and police officers to check through lockers and classrooms without student interference thoroughly.

Some students had their cars, lockers, and backpacks searched including senior Chayse Farris. Farris says, “I got here late for FSO and was sitting in my car when officer Vanderboom knocked on my window.” 

Classroom searches included teachers and students being asked to leave and wait in the hallways while Police and K9s searched the room. 

Arrowhead “wants to send a message that possession and use of any illegal drugs will not be tolerated at school and those who go against this will be held accountable and allowed help.” Says Becky Gordon

The Student Assistance Program (SAP) has been created to help students at Arrowhead who deal with addiction. The main goal is, “to help students overcome these barriers in order for success” according to the Alcohol and Other Drug Awareness page on the Arrowhead website.

Gordon, the north campus associate principal, said, “We don’t want illegal or dangerous drugs in our school, used, sold, or possessed.”

SAP offers student referrals where students can submit a form to acknowledge concern for another student. Forms should be reported back to Barbra Whyte, the south campus counselor for students between H and O. Forms can be found on the webpage above.

Gordon said, “Students don’t get busted by the authorities. Students get sent to a class called Your Choice which is prevention education. Students should not be afraid of being searched. They are only searched with probable cause.”

This is not the first time Arrowhead has participated in this search. Arrowhead also conducted a soft lockdown in February 2020, following an increase in adolescent deaths due to drug overdoses. The increase was around thirty percent, according to Public Health Madison and Dane county. 

“We’ll continue doing it. If we need permission for more, we’ll ask the school board,” said Gordon.