Internal Lockdown

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About the author

Ernie Quatrani

Ernie Quatrani was a public high teacher and baseball coach for over three decades, heavily involved in co-curricular and faculty activities, including a school safety committee. He still is resident of the semi-rural district he taught in. He has been a part-time newspaper reporter for local papers since he was in high school.

Fifteen years into his career as a teacher, six years before Columbine, a fatal shooting occurred within the school building Ernie taught in. A student took the life of a classmate with two gunshots in a biology classroom. At the time, no plan was in place to react to the shooting in real time. Ernie was concerned about school safety long before Columbine brought national attention to a growing problem. The concerns were also personal because his three children were progressing through the high school from 1998 to 2006.

Internal Lockdown began as a short story in 2004, a way for the author to deal with what he saw as large gaps in preparedness: the point of view of teachers and students sheltering in a building, and the unanticipated ramifications of the ordeal. Those concerns only grew for the author as lockdown practices became less of a priority and too routine. Actual lockdowns at the school were not debriefed in any depth in order to improve the system. Quatrani s has had memoir writings published in Apalachee Review, North Dakota Quarterly, r.kv.r.y., and Green Hill Literary Lantern.