The student news site of The Harker School.

Harker Aquila

The student news site of The Harker School.

Harker Aquila

The student news site of The Harker School.

Harker Aquila

Winged Post

Upper school campus enters lockdown, campus all-clear

Ashley Mo
Students gather in the Rothschild Performing Arts Center (RPAC) back room during the lockdown at around 3:30 pm. Around 50 students waited in the room, dismissed thirty minutes later.

The upper school campus entered lockdown from 3:25 to 3:59 p.m. today after classes dismissed.  

Upper school administration said authorities are investigating the cause of the lockdown. Assistant head of school Ken Allen declared the upper school campus all-clear at 3:59 p.m. over the loudspeaker. 

A loudspeaker announcement alerted those on campus to assume lockdown procedure at 3:25 p.m.

“Attention, campus is under lockdown,” the message said.

Students and staff barricaded classroom and closet doors, closed all windows and turned off lights. Five police cars arrived in the upper school back loading zone for a walkthrough of campus at 3:44 p.m. Two police cars arrived at the Saratoga Square shopping center across the street from the upper school campus at 3:46 p.m.

“We heard the alarm — it wasn’t really clear what it was saying, but then we saw people running,” lockdown participant Kyle Li (11) said. “It was all very sudden. One second you’re sitting there, and the next it’s like everything is in panic mode.”

Junior advisors lockdown in junior class dean Christopher Hurshman’s classroom. Students and staff remained in lockdown positions for 34 minutes. (Provided by Whitney Huang)

Upper school math teacher Ambi Bobmanuel was in a class dean and advisor meeting when she heard the lockdown announcement. Bobmanuel experienced two lockdowns at her former school in Spring, Texas. She said knowing Harker’s lockdown procedure calmed her. 

“I love how teachers’ doors are, by default, locked,” Bobmanuel said. “We don’t have to hop outside our doors to physically lock them in a lockdown.”

Allen announced the upper school campus all-clear over the loudspeaker at 3:59 p.m. Head of Upper School Paul Barksy reinforced the all-clear and encouraged students and staff that it was safe to leave rooms a few minutes later.

The Office of Communication notified parents, faculty and staff about the lockdown at 3:48 p.m. and the campus all-clear at 4 p.m. via the Harker emergency alert system. 

With fall sports currently in session, cross country practice was optional. Volleyball practice, football practice and after school P.E. classes continued as planned. 

Upper School Dean of Students Kevin Williamson announced in an email to students and staff that the Evacuation/Fire drill scheduled for tomorrow has been delayed until further notice. Following fifth period, students will enjoy a free period, and office hours will begin at 10:10 a.m.

Update on Sept. 14, 2023: 

Head of School Brian Yager said that an “inadvertant prompt” caused the lockdown in an email sent to parents and staff today. The school is investigating the lockdown system to prevent future instances of unintended activation. Barsky shared Yager’s message with students through an email and Schoology post today.

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About the Contributors
Felix Chen
Felix Chen, Co-News Editor
Felix Chen (11) is the co-news editor for Harker Aquila and the Winged Post, and this is his third year on staff. Felix hopes to diversify this year's news coverage and work with members of the staff from all grades, contributing to the creation of a tight-knit community with a joy for journalism. He enjoys writing and reading of all sorts in his free time.
Desiree Luo
Desiree Luo, Aquila Co-Managing Editor
Desiree Luo (12) is a co-managing editor for Harker Aquila, and this is her fourth year on staff. This year, Desiree hopes to interview new sources and sharpen her writing. In her free time, she enjoys watching black and white movies, following Bay Area sports teams and browsing bookshelves at Barnes and Noble .
Kinnera Mulam
Kinnera Mulam, Winged Post Co-Editor-in-Chief
Kinnera Mulam (12) is the co-editor-in-chief of the Winged Post, and this is her fourth year on staff. This year, Kinnera hopes to get to know all the new reporters and create fresh designs for the Winged Post. In her free time, she enjoys listening to music, trying new snacks and bothering other staff members.
Gabe Sachse
Gabe Sachse, Sports Columnist
Gabe Sachse (11) is a sports columnist for Harker Aquila and the Winged Post, and this is his third year on staff. This year, Gabe wishes to write some investigative pieces and interview more members of the Harker community. In his free time, he plays for Harker's football and baseball teams and enjoys reading comic books.
Alison Yang
Alison Yang, Co-A&E and Lifestyle Editor
Alison Yang (11) is the co-arts and entertainment and lifestyle editor for Harker Aquila and the Winged Post, and this is her third year on staff. Alison is looking forward to getting to know more people and working on photography. She also likes to hang out with her cat Schrödinger, play Russian Fishing 4 and watching bad movies.
Margaret Cartee
Margaret Cartee, Aquila Co-Managing Editor
Margaret Cartee 12) is a co-managing editor for Harker Aquila, and this is her fourth year on staff. This year, Margaret wants to do more illustrations and meet all the new journalists in the program. In her free time, she likes sketching on paper, playing volleyball and sitting in chairs.
Ashley Mo
Ashley Mo, Reporter
Ashley Mo (10) is a reporter for Harker Aquila, and this is her second year on staff. This year, Ashley hopes to write about stories both within and outside of the Harker community, form friendships on the journalism team and learn more about global news events. In her free time, she enjoys playing golf and listening to music.

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