Magruder shooting leaves students trapped in classrooms searching Twitter for answers


Krystin Ipina

Shooting at Magruder High School leaves students, staff, and families terrified as they search on Twitter for answers.

On Friday, January 21, a student was found shot in a student bathroom at Col. Zadok Magruder High School, prompting the school to be put into a lockdown, placing many students, staff, and families in distress.

The school was placed into lockdown after the 15-year old student was found by a security guard during a hall sweep. School nurse Megan Wilson provided aid to the victim before he was transported to a hospital in critical condition.

“When the whole thing started our principal put us in lockdown, my friends were jokingly saying that it’s a school shooting without having any idea that it was an actual school shooting,” Magruder sophomore Chislon Njang said.

Many students resorted to sources other than the school in order to be informed of their current situation. “I was refreshing Twitter to get all my information,” Magruder senior Bridgit Kalota said. “The school sent out an email that claimed that there was a ‘student health concern,’ even though it was – they didn’t tell us that it was a shooting, leaving students, teachers, and parents in the dark.”

At 3 pm, the suspect was located in a classroom and apprehended. Students were held in their classrooms, restricting their bathroom usage. Teachers created makeshift bathrooms for students out of cardboard boxes and water bottles. At around 7 pm, students were dismissed from their classes with police and SWAT escort. “The hallways were lined with SWAT members with guns and in tactical gear. The hallway where the shooting occurred was closed off,” Kalota added.

Students were given a handout as they were escorted out by a SWAT team with tips for parents and teachers to comfort the students in light of this traumatic event. Busses were dismissed afterward and the staff were allowed to leave as well.

“I keep on thinking about how things will change after this situation, maybe more police presence, maybe more crisis counselors, maybe more non-stigmatized mental health help,” Kalota said. “Kids will be silent and won’t ask for help, but we need to normalize asking for guidance, especially for male students.” There will be a heightened police presence at all MCPS high schools for the next week.

To support students and staff, MHS will have a half-day schedule today and will be given excused absences over the next few days if they do not wish to return to school.

We’ve never really experienced anything like that anywhere around here,” freshman Alex James* said. “We’ve had threats, but I don’t think we’ve ever actually experienced someone being in school with a gun and actually hearing about someone getting shot.”

*Names have been changed to protect the identity of students who wished to remain anonymous.

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