Monday, Feb.11 during third hour the Owatonna Senior High school students proceeded with the lockdown protocol for the remainder of third hour until 2 p.m.. Students were in lockdown after multiple altercations broke out between students as a result of multiple posts made on social media. In order to gain order, the lockdown addressed everyone to go to their classroom. Owatonna Law Enforcement was called in to gain control of the situation. It was a day that has changed the feel of OHS.
Now a month later, students are starting to finally move forward, and administration at OHS have a couple different actions set to improve the cohesiveness within the school. Feedback has been gathered from students, parents and staff, and the discussion about moving forward is becoming productive.
Prior to the events in February, the school had been planning on events to bring students together. Since the incident, they have been working on accelerating the previously planned events. There will be some restorative work, training for staff and students, training for students who were directly related in the incident. Principal Mr. Mark Randall said, “We want to create an environment where all students feel comfortable being here.” They want to focus on making sure lines of communication are open to help prepare students for the workplace, and for their future. Randall touched on how communication is the basis of everything, and how its really hard to be successful without clear communication
On Feb. 28, the World Café took place in the lower lunchroom. Teachers are getting together with some students to have conversations about racial equity. This was to open up about the topic, and to have students feel like they are being heard. Mr. Randall said, “A lot of the times that is the gateway to getting better at things and understanding people’s differences, rather than bottling that up, and not talking about that.”
Moving forward requires all lines of communication to be open. The speaker, Bukada Hayes, came to Owatonna high school to speak with sophomores and seniors about race during the TMM on Tuesday, March 12. He will return on March 19 to speak with juniors and freshmen. Although race is difficult topic to talk about, now is the best time to tackle the issue. The speaker specializes in talking about racial differences and will be working with OHS students between now and the end of the school year. Discussions will be continued both in and out of the classroom. There will be an assembly with grades, and within classrooms to continue discussions with students.