Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

January 31, 2013

Eastern schools order lock downs

Parents express frustration they didn’t receive alert.

Greentown — A domestic disturbance in Greentown Wednesday night prompted functional lock downs at Eastern High School and Eastern Elementary School Thursday, officials said.

Eastern Howard School Corp. Superintendent Tracy Caddell said there was no direct threat to students, but officials wanted to be overly cautious.

Routines remained the same, Caddell said. Classes simply were conducted in locked classrooms, and outer doors were locked.

By 11 a.m., the district posted a message on its Facebook page about the lock down, so parents knew what was going on.

The post said the lock down was a “precautionary” measure, but students were safe.

That message caused a panic within the community, Caddell said.

Phone lines were tied up all day as concerned parents tried to find out what was going on. Caddell said administrators couldn’t get anything done because they spent most of their time answering phones.

And there was an outcry on Facebook, too.

More than 30 parents and community members posted comments on the district’s Facebook page.

Many were frustrated they had to find out about the lock down on Facebook. They thought the district should have sent automated phone messages to all parents to explain the situation.

Caddell responded by posting a message: “We did not send an alert now because there is not an issue going on that directly impacts the school. An alert now, in our opinion, would heighten concern. Nothing is going on at the school to report. We are going to be doing many more lock downs in the future. Unfortunately, this just may be our new reality.”

If the district sends out a message every time there is a functional lock down, parents would be bombarded with messages, Caddell said.

The district has had at least five functional lock downs since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut, the superintendent said.

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