The Voice of the Wildcats

The Paw Print

The Voice of the Wildcats

The Paw Print

The Voice of the Wildcats

The Paw Print

Active shooter threat causes anxiety and fear on college day

Josephine Meade
The morning of October 12, six schools in the Bay Area received a call regarding a potential active shooter and safety threat on their campus’.

A potential safety threat disrupted the PSAT and the SAT for seniors and put remaining students in a forty-five-minute lockdown on campus during the morning of October 12.

At 10:53 a.m, Principal Karen Van Putten’s email to all students and teachers described the threat as a rumor with no substantial proof, but for safety reasons, declared Woodside as “in Secure Campus.” This meant that students and staff on campus were to remain inside but continue taking the tests until law enforcement declared the campus safe. Teachers locked classroom doors and rolled down surrounding window curtains as the San Mateo County Sheriff’s department patrolled and surrounded the campus.

At the time the email was distributed, over half of the students on campus were taking part in either the PSAT or SAT. 

Both exams are nationwide forms of standardized testing with restricting guidelines that prevent students from conversing with one another and holding possession of phones and electronic devices. Students were forced to continue taking the exams amidst the situation.

“It was hard to focus when the intercom was going off [and] when the policemen were in the room,” senior Josephine Meade said. “I understand why they had to continue the test, but I thought it was unfair because of all of the stress and disorganization.”

Students taking the exams were challenged with balancing thoughts and worries of family and friends while simultaneously bubbling in answers ‘a’ through ‘d.’

5-6 police officers from the San Mateo County Sheriffs Department observed and cleared classrooms around Campus between around 10-12 a.m. (Anonymous Student)

“I remember looking at some people who were taking the test, and they were rocking back and forth,” junior Jessie Lin said. “It was a lot of nervous laughing during the first break we had, but the moment the announcement went on, and then the cops interrupted, everybody couldn’t believe what was happening.”

PSAT proctors did not allow students to use their phones under any circumstances. However, In an attempt to calm down students, SAT proctors lent support during the mandated breaks to alleviate the confusion and anxiety surrounding the situation by allowing them to use their devices under certain circumstances.

“During the break, the [SAT] proctors allowed for students to contact parents with their supervision,” Meade said. “I think that putting the test on pause would have messed with the time and caused a lot of arguments, so offering support during the breaks was a good idea.”

Campus shootings like Sandy Hook and the Uvalde Texas Massacre from earlier this year, along with hundreds of other mass shootings in America over the years have made students accustomed to the procedures that align with an active shooter threat, preparing students to be attentive in similar situations.

“ I stood up, and I immediately started telling people to shut the blinds and stuff like that,” Lin said. “I think that was a very visceral reaction because we see stuff like this on the news [almost] every single month.”

Disruption during the tests seriously jeopardizes the reliance that many low-income students have on standardized tests in relation to winning scholarships and grants.

“A lot of people are depending on the PSAT or SAT for scholarships and to get into college. So it’s super unfair for those taking these tests because they depend on this,” Lin said. “Some can’t afford taking [standardized tests] again and again and again.”

“Interruptions due to emergencies such as this do not require tests to end

— Anonymous Administrator

Living through an active shooter alert greatly differs from practicing a lockdown drill once a year. Although students might think they know what to expect in case of an emergency, there is no way to fully grasp the severity of the situation until you live through it, especially if you are required to complete a standardized test in the middle of it.

“Growing up, we’ve had experiences where we do these drills and shelter in place, but when we actually get to the point of a threat, where the sheriff’s department is walking around with guns on campus, the tone definitely changes,” Lin said. “I can’t believe that we’re so accustomed to it.”

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About the Contributors
Cebelli Pfeifer
Cebelli Pfeifer, Co-Editor in Chief
Cebelli Pfeifer is a senior and third-year journalist. She enjoys writing about politics, environmentalism, and topics around civil rights. She hopes to make a difference, raise awareness, and have an impact on her community with her work. In her free time, she enjoys reading, watching movies, exploring the outdoors, and hanging out with friends. Check out Cebelli's portfolio here.
Jaiedenn Dolan
Jaiedenn Dolan, Beat Editor
Jaiedenn Dolan is a senior and second-year journalist. She enjoys writing about politics, worldwide, and current events. She hopes to bring light to current political events that are happening around our school. In her free time, she enjoys reading, going out with friends, and going to Santa Cruz.

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