ONE YEAR LATER: Principal, student talk about Dalton HS one year after teacher fired gun in classroom
It’s been one year since a former teacher at Dalton High School barricaded himself in a room and fired a gunshot out a window.
Several security upgrades have been made since last year, but one student tells Channel 3 it’s a culture of unity that's helped them through.
"Personally, I just took a moment and was like 'here we are, a year later' but in a completely different situation," DHS junior Hazey Magane said about walking into class that day.
Each day Hazey walks through the doors of Dalton High School, she is thankful for her teachers, administrators, and friends.
READ MORE | Students at Dalton High School return to class
On Thursday, she took an extra moment reflecting on the last year.
One year ago, on February 28, Hazey was in class directly across the hall from the classroom where a teacher barricaded himself in the room and fired a gunshot out the window.
No one was physically hurt, but Hazey said the experience is still something she thinks about.
After the shooting, there were counselors, therapy dogs, and other ways teachers and students chose to cope.
"Everyone had that panic and then they have that moment of, I guess, getting over it sort of and recovering from it,” Hazey said. “To now, we're a year later and we feel safer than ever."
She credits her teachers for helping her this past year, and specifically remembers something one teacher told her class days after it happened.
"When we walked into the classroom he said ‘I'm not good with words, but what I can tell you is I'm glad every single one of you is sitting in a desk right now.’"
The school has also made several security upgrades, such as intruder locks that are on every door, there's also a second school resource officer, and more school-wide emergency drills, especially during lunchtime which is when the lock down happened last year.
"Our adults know what to do with kids when they're in common areas during a threat lock down, our kids didn't know what to,” explained Principal Steve Bartoo. “So, that was a big learning point for us during that incident. So, know we train at lunch when we train for threat lock downs."
Principal Bartoo said he's proud of how his teachers and staff reacted that day and each day since.
"I was overwhelmed with the way in which our teachers just rose up and took care of our kids and took care of each other," urged Bartoo.
He and Hazey are choosing not to focus on the terrifying moments that day, but instead remembering how the community came together to support every student, teacher, and staff member at Dalton High School this past year.
"At that moment you realize your school cares about you," Hazey said.