Andover High School was put in shelter in place on Tuesday, February 27, after a holster was found by students in the field house. It lasted for about 15 minutes as the Andover Police Department looked into the possible threat.

The holster turned out to be a starter’s pistol holster left behind from a track meet. Mr. Darlington and Mr. Norton, the two administrators at the school that day, ultimately made the decision to put the school in a shelter in place. They also consulted with Principal Conrad on the phone. 

When explaining the reasoning behind putting the school in a shelter in place, Darlington said that had there been more of an “imminent threat… we would have gone more into the A.L.I.C.E. protocol.”

The holster was found by a group of students in the field house, who then brought it to their teacher. From there, their teacher brought it to the main office.

“I had no idea what it was, but I thought it was something I should bring to the attention of the administration,” said Mrs. McVeigh, the health and Physical Education teacher whose students discovered the holster.

Darlington said that everybody “did exactly what they were supposed to do and from that point…we called the Andover Police Department to have them come over to check it out.”

Officer Dubois, the school resource officer, said, “Being so close to the most recent shooting in Parkland, Florida…I think that the students and the faculty are much more aware of items they find or things they see, and they are able to notify administration right away as to a possible threat in the school.”

Teachers in the school had the option to continue on with their lesson or to have their students sit quietly in their classrooms. AHS sophomore Nicole Burgess said that her English class went mostly uninterrupted and continued on with presentations.

Burgess said the fact that the administration took the finding of a holster so seriously “makes [her] feel better that they’ll take things that are even more dangerous more seriously.”

In an email sent out to the school faculty, Officer Dubois explained the difference between a shelter in place and a lockdown. He explained that a shelter in place is used when it is safer for occupants to stay in the building or to halt movement throughout that school, while a lockdown is for when there is more of an imminent threat and occupants need to defend themselves from a violent threat in the building.

By Grace Wright, with additional reporting by Emily Chen