Boardman High recognizes responders, honors Fla. school shooting victims
By Jessica Hardin
Boardman High School commemorated the first anniversary of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in its own way Thursday morning.
After 17 students were killed in the Parkland, Fla., tragedy, students around the country participated in a national school walkout one month after the shooting.
In the spirit of the movement, Boardman students conducted the first Legacy Lockdown, in which students initiated a lockdown drill and then lined the hallways to clap for local first responders.
“Like the country, there was some division in the building ... about how to handle the walkout. ... And what we all agreed on was that first responders were our greatest hope,” said Cindy Fernback, school principal.
Boardman police and fire departments were joined Thursday at Boardman’s second annual Legacy Lockdown by representatives from the Mahoning County Sheriff’s Office.
The event highlighted the collaboration among local first responders.
“These are the neat kind of events that just solidify the relationships we have moving forward, and the school is a big part of that,” said police Chief Todd Werth.
Part of the community’s response to the Parkland shooting has been preparation for a similar event.
Werth said because not all officers are graduates of Boardman High School, he ensures that they are familiar with the building by scheduling regular patrols and walk-throughs.
Another preparatory measure was the creation of the tactical EMS team, which partners EMS and police to respond to incidents, such as an active shooter.
“It’s just another thing we can do to prepare ourselves for one of these events. ... It’s taking the strengths of that fire department and police department and putting them together. It’s just a great relationship,” said Werth.
In the face of such unimaginable violence, the visibility of first responders brings comfort to students, Fernback explained.
“We wanted to bring the helpers in so that the scariness of practicing an emergency lockdown drill would be relieved, seeing all these people in uniform who are here to help,” said Fernback.