The mysterious shelter in place


Photo made by the BayNet News of South Maryland

February Seventh a random shelter in place was called in the middle of everyone’s fifth period and we still don’t know why.

Carlos Sanchez, Writer

Friday, February 7th, is a day shrouded in mystery until the school gives us an answer. The students who heard, shook in fear. No one knew what was happening. The teachers don’t know and the school isn’t giving us a straight answer. It was during 5th period, around 1:17 pm, in the A building. Loud screaming could be heard and frantic running was also audible. The majority of students who heard assumed the worse, a shooting was going on. Well, obviously that isn’t the case because this whole school would know. As for me, I was in my AP World History class and we were watching a video. No one around me heard the screaming but I heard it clear as crystal. Three minutes later the announcement bell rang. The most quiet voice ever announced, “shelter in place.” It only lasted about a minute after the bell (which normally brings at 1:22 pm CST) and it only lasted for a total of about five minutes. It couldn’t have been the weather because it wasn’t even raining at that time. That’s when everyone became suspicious.

My next period was lunch and all I heard was two things. “Did you hear the screaming?” and “Why was there a shelter in place?” Rumors spread like wildfire but that’s to be expected at a high school. The school has not came out and said anything about it yet. Except for a vague tweet, “Good afternoon! We briefly called for a “shelter in place” due to a situation at Hays High School this afternoon. The shelter was from 1:18p.m.-1:21 p.m. today and has been lifted, we are back to normal operations. Thank you.”

This tells us nothing and a concerned parent commented, confused by what was going on, but she got no response.

I asked a teacher, and they said, and I quote “I don’t know what all I can tell y’all.” But then they reported that a student had a meltdown in the halls and we were kept in class to keep the situation from worsening. Everyone in the class seemed to be put at ease by this. It made sense but the words, “I don’t know what all I can tell y’all” really threw me off. If this is the truth then why say that, and why didn’t the school tell us in that tweet. Parents are concerned but they aren’t getting a straight answer.

Another story/rumor/theory came up that someone was having a seizure. But the school has a special shelter in place called shelter for medical. They did not say this, they said “We are going into shelter in place” Why didn’t they use their special SRP system that they rave so much about? Why make us sit through the most boring, mundane, and outdated video every year talking about these protocols when they don’t even use them? All of this is sounding very suspicious as more information is dug up.

I decided to talk with some people who were in class near the scene of the event. One of my good friends, Sebastian Garza, gave some of his ideas to what happened. He thinks someone may have jumped off the balcony or got hurt really bad. This can explain the running sound I heard so closely and the loud screaming. This is something the school wouldn’t want us to know about. But there is no evidence to support any of this.

I decided to call the front office to see what they thought. The front office is glass and since we heard the sound coming from the main hall and it couldn’t be anywhere else because no one in the B building heard or it was quiet for them. They said to check the email they sent to all the parents. I then said that the email gave no information. They replied with “well that’s all the information we have. You can talk with an AP if you like.” It’s obvious either they don’t know or won’t say.

At this point, we should explain HIPAA law. It stands for: Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. What this means for us is that if something happens to someone (like a seizure) they can’t say what happened to protect the person’s privacy. Usually a school would say in their email to parents, “We cannot say due to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996.” Or they would at least mention that they can’t say due to HIPAA law. But yet they didn’t. They even held a shelter in place, not their protocol which is, Shelter for Medical.

The problem is this all could be so simple if the school came out with an answer that has proof backing it up. Because I, and many others, can’t trust the Hays Administration anymore. Even a simple “we cannot say due to HIPAA law” would be acceptable, it is vague but that’s the least they can say.

This incident is something that really scared a lot of people. The school should communicate with their students, the student’s parents, and their own staff. Everyone within earshot of this incident, and in the shelter-in-place was equally as confused and scared. So be weary of the rumors running amuck. It’s hard to differentiate between what is right and what is wrong. Don’t believe everything you hear. We will update this story as information becomes available.