A Day In The Life


Courtesy of Google Images

Administration and faculty all worked together to help parents pick up their children on that October day.

Ryley Anthony, ENN Staff

On October 6th 2021, the students and staff of MISD experienced a terrifying and violent incident. The incident specifically took place at Timberview High School, but as a close community, the entire school district was, in some way, affected. As the incident is reflected on weeks later, authoritative figures throughout MISD are being recognized for the actions they took in order to protect the students of the district and how they will continue to do so moving forward. 

Just like students and parents, staff members were taken by surprise and immediate worry, after learning of the incident occurring at Timberview. The difference is, after feeling the overflow of emotions, they are responsible for keeping students and other staff members safe and collected. Principal of Lake Ridge High School, Ashley Alloway, was in a scheduled faculty meeting, at the time of the incident. 

“My initial reaction was shock. I had a lot of questions that were running through my head. Questions like, ‘What’s going on?’ and ‘How did that happen?’ My responsibility on a day like that is still operations of the campus. It just shifts gears. One of my responsibilities each and every day is to ensure safety. I was making sure we had people in all of the appropriate locations, moderating, and making sure we were checking ID’s for people that were coming into the building,” said Alloway. 

On October 21, 2021 an MISD Press Conference took place in which police officers and authoritative figures of MISD presented information and answered the questions of individuals in the district.  Director of Safety, Security and Threat Management, Bruno Dias, elaborated on how the district prepares authoritative figures to handle incidents like the one that occurred on October 6th. 

“We have monthly drill schedules. We focus on the response that we want to take. So, that’s something that we instill in every campus we wanted to practice differently. This year we incorporated two new functions through a drill schedule. It involves tabletop exercises where we’re actually asking our principles and key essential safety security professionals around the campus, including the US rose to develop scenarios to better prepare staff. That’s something that we do and apply every month, twice a month, without exception,” said Dias.

On the day of the incident, at Lake Ridge, an estimate of over a thousand of parents within a 4-5 hour period, arrived on campus to pick up their children from school. In an attempt to keep students secure, while still fulfilling the request of parents, administrative and faculty throughout the building worked together to unite the two. As Alloway reflected back on that day, she admitted the tension she was under, trying her best to accomplish this difficult task. 

“Honestly the most stressful thing was the volume of parents coming and making sure we could be as efficient as possible when matching parents to students. When we realized the number of people we were going to have, we quickly organized a system of student assistants and teacher and staff that could help us with processing parent requests for getting their students out of class and on their way home,” said Alloway. 

Alloway expressed her gratitude towards staff members that stepped up and assisted her with parents. Lake Ridge Librarian, Josie Razo, is one example of the staff members Alloway was referring to. She worked first hand with handling parents and students on the day of the incident, even though she was fairly new to the school. 

“It was really crazy that day. We got called down, It wasn’t just me. It was some kids too who were eating lunch in here (the library) and they stopped eating and went and ran attendance slips. It was really nice to see them helping out, even when they didn’t have to. It got really crazy after skyward and all the phones went down, that was a whole other level. The attendance, staff, all the other teachers, and students willing to help out was nice to see because everyone was scared and confused. We did the best we could in the situation,” said Razo. 

During this kind of situation, it can be demanding to keep a school of over 2,000 students unflustered and composed. Emotions were high, because of concern regarding the safety of Timberview staff and students, and of MISD as a whole. Alloway had the assistance of Lake Ridge counselors, who are trained to deal with the emotional turmoil of students and staff.

“I organized my administrative team and my counseling team. One of the things we did is each time we had the opportunity to talk to a faculty member or student or a family member that was coming here, we reassured them that we had things under control. By reassuring teachers, teachers were able to reassure students,” said Alloway. 

Counselor Lori Cook, helped Lake Ridge in the aftermath of the incident, but on the day of, worked with the staff and students of Timberview. 

“I was notified by my supervisor to go to the center for reunification of all the Timberview students and parents. I’m one of the few designated counselors in the district, there are six of us. Our job with any type of big large-scale situation like this in the district is to go over there and respond to the situation, not only on our campus but district wide. I was over there working all day with students and parents and dealing with any crisis situations and emotional situations. I didn’t really think about how I was feeling, I put my feelings aside because honestly, I didn’t have time to deal with them. I was scared because I have my own kid at Lake Ridge. I was making sure she was okay. I have a different situation because my husband is an Arlington police officer. So I had a few different interactions, but I couldn’t deal with myself. I put the kids first and then dealt with my own stuff after,” said Cook. 

Moving forward, while MISD has placed some changes within the school district, safety measures resemble ones used before the incident, and are proven to be mostly effective. Alloway has helped introduce new safety measures that not only Lake Ridge enforces, but all other MISD schools enforce as well.

“We are doing the same thing every other school in MISD is doing. MISD has enacted some new safety measures or continued with some we’ve used regularly. We are just following the district protocol. We used to have the dog searches before COVID, we have reinstated that. The district is doing random searches. Every campus has an increase in the number of police officers. We have two additional police officers from Mansfield City Police department. For the remainder of the semester we will have four officers on campus,” said Alloway. 

Chief Police Officer Greg Miller was present at the MISD Press Conference and on the panel presented the latest ideas and procedures required to take place on each campus of MISD. “The number one thing on the list was placing an officer on every campus not just not just middle school for intermediates, but all our mentors as well. That was June of 2018, we had 34 officers at that time. Within the mantra the last thing was we are allocated 363 If that gives you an idea. So the second thing was pepper spray in the classrooms for teachers to be able to have access to shooting incidents. So we did that, the district purchased safes, to be placed in every classroom, and again, maintenance did an outstanding job on this as well by installing those sites quickly in classrooms,” said Miller.