“Going Up? Not For Long” SHS Elevator Traps Two Teachers

Although the SHS elevator passed inspection in September, there have been two incidents when staff members were stuck inside

Although the SHS elevator passed inspection in September, there have been two incidents when staff members were stuck inside

Lily Grazioso and Frankie Minich

During cold weather, many people worry about shoveling snow, chipping the ice off of their cars, or paying the heating bill. If you’re a teacher at SHS, however, another concern could be getting stuck on the building elevator for an unknown amount of time–especially on a chilly Monday morning. 

This happened to an SHS faculty member, who wished to stay anonymous, on the first day back from February break. Stuck in the freezing cold elevator without a coat, this dedicated teacher arrived on campus extra early to make copies and prepare for the week ahead.  

Getting stuck in an elevator is a common trope in horror films, but lucky for SHS, there were no murderers or mass power outages causing the occurrence. According to the fire department response history, the heater which keeps the hydraulic pumps from freezing had failed.

It also stated that it took 50 minutes in total: “After 50 min, the elevator was reset and the female occupant of the elevator car was removed.” 

This may seem like a schoolwide shock–and an issue that was dealt with immediately after its occurrence–but it had actually happened just two months prior. 

Miss Judy, one of SHS’s paraprofessionals, was also stuck on the elevator. On Monday, December 21st, 2020, she was stuck in the elevator for 30 minutes. Shortly after using her cell phone to call the office, Miss Judy heard an elevator technician scoping out the scene, confirming that the hydraulic pumps had frozen. 

“It’s cold in that elevator,” Miss Judy said, “and luckily it was first thing in the morning. I had my jacket. I had my coffee. I was all set.”

While waiting in the elevator, Miss Judy said plenty of people checked in on her: “Mr. Luette was on the top floor yelling through the door to make sure I was okay, and Dr. Maguire texted me to make sure I was okay.” It’s clear that during a situation such as this at SHS, there’s no staff left behind.

Dr. Maguire said the school has been aware of this issue for several years, but this year it’s been happening far more often. The elevator passed its inspection in September, and the inspection form is clearly displayed. Saying she likes to get her steps in, Dr. Maguire feels the elevator would be a safe alternative to the stairs at SHS.

Miss Judy is now more cautious when she uses the elevator, having been a victim of its shenanigans. She tries not to use it if she can help it, but sometimes it can’t be avoided.

“I now try it out,” she said. “I’ll go in, push the button for two and then stand outside the door, let it shut, let it go all the way up, open, and then I push the button so it comes back to me, then I’ll get on. And there was one of the days where I hit the button and it didn’t work.”

Hopefully, as the weather gets warmer, the elevator will be kinder to its passengers. But in the meantime, its former victims are hesitant to use it again. Miss Judy summed up the situation perfectly: “Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.”