Bomb Threat Raises Concerns Throughout Campus

Officers on campus during the bomb threat lockdown

Officers on campus during the bomb threat lockdown

Surabhi Chinta, Reporter

On Friday, April 15th, Novato High School went into lockdown and later into a shelter-in-place due to a bomb threat found in an Easter egg next to the Gordon Gym during Novato High’s annual Easter egg hunt. The initial lockdown began at approximately 11:45 a.m. in the middle of fourth period. 

“I was writing my will the second after I heard the lockdown announcement,” said sophomore Valentina Alva. “But in all seriousness, I was scared that it was a school shooter because of how many there have been recently.” 

A school shooter or a stranger on campus seemed to be a common thought for many students when they first heard the alert, due to the lack of specific information given with the initial announcement. Naturally, this was concerning for many students. However, after hearing of the specific bomb threat and what was supposedly written on the note, many students began to relax. 

“At first, I was concerned that there was actually a bomb, but then I heard that the note said, ‘if you detonate the bomb, you’re not ‘pushing p’ and I knew it was a joke,” said sophomore Maya Mhlanga. 

Many students did not hear about the note until after 12:20 p.m., when the lockdown switched to a shelter-in-place. This change allowed students to leave their classrooms to go to the restroom if a teacher or supervisor chaperoned them. Unfortunately, many students realized that they would not eat during the usual lunchtime, leading to a large amount of hungry students.

At the same time, plenty of rumors floated around throughout the lockdown and shelter, causing some students and parents to worry. 

Senior Layla Tournache shared her experience as a student off-campus during the lockdown. 

“I was freaked out because I didn’t know that it was a bomb threat, only a lockdown, so I thought someone at school had a gun,” said senior Layla Tournache, who was off-campus during the lockdown. “I was thinking about all my friends and my sister at school, so I started stressing out, and I’m an overthinker, which just made it worse since I was thinking of the worst thing that could have happened.”  

However, not everyone had an entirely frightening experience. 

“I was going on Twitter during the lockdown to see if any of the news networks wanted to interview me because I thought it would be cool,” said sophomore Grant Woods. “I messaged NBC Bay Area and sent them a picture of myself, which looking back, seems kind of stupid, but in the moment, I thought I would get to be on TV, but they never wrote me back.”

To add to the chaos, on the first day back after the lockdown, a fire alarm went off during  second period, inciting even more panic for some. Students were not evacuated, and the school did not reveal the cause of the fire alarm to students. 

The bomb threat and fire alarm going off have raised safety concerns about the science building. The intercom or fire alarm system reportedly did not reach the building on Friday, April 15th, and Monday, April 18th. Many students were concerned about this issue, as they did not even know that NHS was under lockdown until a campus supervisor came around and told the classes to shut down. In addition, they did not hear the following Monday’s fire alarm. 

Science teacher Katie Faircloth discussed what occurred during the lockdown in the Center for the Sciences. 

“The teachers didn’t know [about the lockdown]. I think Mr. Addis asked me if there was a planned emergency drill, and I was like, ‘I don’t think so’, so I went back to check. Then, we learned that it was a lockdown after calling Ms. Purtell and Mr. Bawden went around locking down the building,” said Faircloth. 

Faircloth later reflected on why the fire alarm did not go off in the science building and the intercom system’s issues. 

“There was an intercom there that was working the first semester. So, I think they are working on it. My guess is that something happened with a fuse that needs to be switched or it’s an internet issue where they upgraded the network and didn’t reconnect,” she said. 

Overall, the bomb threat was a shaky event that raised multiple safety concerns. Yet, the NHS community seems to have moved on, essentially erasing this terrifying moment from their minds.