Stevenson Lockdown Draws Attention to Security

Stevenson High School went into a school lockdown on the night of September 13 in response to a nearby armed robbery in Buffalo Grove.

This crisis, which held students in a lockdown until police noted otherwise, shed light on Stevenson’s emergency protocol. Stevenson first entered into a “closed campus” status before calling a full lockdown due to the armed perpetrators moving into Lincolnshire.

“This situation definitely had a very serious impact on parents and students,” Ken Latka, Stevenson assistant principal, said. “On one hand, it’s obviously alarming, but on the other hand, it’s pretty reassuring to see that we take the safety of our students so seriously.”

Many students who were in the lockdown agree with Latka, including Samhita Madduru ’20, who was at vocal group auditions late Wednesday night. The emergency interrupted her extracurricular, as she and her peers were told to halt activities and enter lockdown procedure.

“Of course [these emergencies] are scary,” Madduru said. “But it’s also Stevenson, it’s so big. Even if anything happened, I know Stevenson has security guards to protect us, so it’s not too worrying.”

Stevenson also recently updated its security technology. Just last year, the school added an outdoor public address system to alert students in case of an emergency. Not only that, but computerized door locks were recently implemented, making lockdowns even more efficient.

“We have outdoor security constantly surveying the school property and a camera system surveilling the premises,” Latka said. “We’re really fortunate with the resources we’re given from the district.”

That being said, while Stevenson already has very strong security, there is still room for improvement. After every incident, Stevenson officials meet to debrief what happened and how to further bolster security.

“Anytime we have an all-school incident, such as the loss of water service or a lockdown, we learn a lot about our procedures and protocols,” Latka said. “That evening’s lockdown taught us how important it is to get that communication to our Sodexo staff, as well as making announcements on each of our radio channels.”

As for Stevenson students, it is business as usual. Even after emergencies at Stevenson, classes continue normally, but the objective of a more secure school environment stays the same.

“I definitely feel safe at Stevenson since it provides a safe space where students can focus on learning more than worrying about their safety,” Madduru said.