LHHS students waiting in line to be checked through metal detectors. (Photo by Peyton Willman)

Lake Highlands is shaken. After Dadrien Harrison, a LHHS junior, was tragically shot near campus on Tuesday night, students’ anxiety is higher than ever, with no suspect or motive released about the crime. Faculty reacted quickly, installing metal detectors overnight to be used for the rest of the week. They are placed at main entrances and screen students with their backpacks as they enter. 

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On Wednesday morning, students arrived at school for their 9:00 a.m. first period, only to be met with a massive line stretching from the front doors to the parking lot. 

“It wasn’t the amount of people waiting that surprised me, it was the fact that the line was not moving.” says Peyton Willman, junior at LHHS. “We were told to remove all metal objects from our backpacks, hand them to an officer and walk through the detector.”

Willman was one of many students who waited outside for nearly an hour as they were being checked in through the metal detectors.

“I finally got to class around 9:30 and maybe ten students were in there out of the usual thirty.” she says.

In an email sent to parents on Wednesday afternoon, Principal Kerri Jones stated that the metal detectors will remain in place for the rest of the week. At time of publishing, there have been no further updates regarding metal detector policy at LHHS.

“It was hectic and very chaotic,” says Tatyanna Drew, senior at LHHS. “It’s kinda sad that we have to still go through this.”

Students’ mental health has become a priority for faculty in light of the tragedy. The school is employing a “crisis counseling” unit available by appointment for students that are dealing with heightened anxiety or fear this week. Some students have even opted to stay home from school until more details are released that they deem as safe.

“Knowing that the shooter is in my community fills me with terror,” says Lauren Erickson, senior at LHHS. “As of now we still have no idea why he was shot, and I’m scared to find out.” 

Erickson felt that it was unsafe to attend school on Wednesday, and is taking time to manage her mental health before returning.

“I actually met Dadrien a few times,” she says. “My heart really goes out to his family and it’s just so heartbreaking.”

As new details continue to emerge regarding the murder of Dadrien Harrison, the neighborhood does what it does best, as residents lean on each other for support.

“We’re all just really scared, not only at school but in this community,” Erickson says. “Horrors like these keep happening and no changes are really being made.”