February 9, 2007

Threats Force Lockdowns at Four Battle Ground Schools

This has nothing to do with racing, but I'm sure will stay on my mind for along time. I teach at Lewisville Middle School. We were in the high school gym for about 5 hours today. This story is from a local news station.

Friday, February 09, 2007
BATTLE GROUND, Wash. - Four Battle Ground schools were forced into lock down and were eventually evacuated Friday after a bomb threat and reports of a sniper in the area threatened student safety.

Fire and police officials told KOIN News 6 that a 911 call came in about 9:10 a.m. claiming that there was a bomb inside Lewisville Middle School. They were trying to trace the call, which was from an automated voice.

Students at the middle school were evacuated to the neighboring Battle Ground High School stadium until they could be safely transported to the high school's gymnasium. . They were instructed to leave their bags behind and take only their coats.

Officials say that had it been an immediate, credible threat, a fire alarm would have been activated. Instead, teachers were notified individually.

Police were conducting a threat assessment of the building, going through each room and checking for anything suspicious that should be examined by the bomb squad when the second call came in around 11:35 a.m. Another computer-animated voice then claimed that there was a sniper in the area.

Police asked officials to lock down Battle Ground High School, Captain Strong Elementary School, Chief Umtuch Primary School and HomeLink/Cam High School.

Reverse 911 calls were made to residents and businesses in the surrounding area to advise them of the threat and to instruct them to report any suspicious activity.

Confused and worried parents wanted to pick up their children. School administrators assured parents that their children were safe and asked that parents not come to the schools until an evacuation route was established. Police say they did not want to inform parents about the evacuation plan until it was already underway because of the potential sniper in the area.

Buses were rerouted to the secured area on east side of the high school. Battle Ground High School and Lewisville Middle School students were released around 3 p.m. Bus students were allowed to leave first, then student drivers and then walkers and students picked up by parents.

Chief Umtuch and Captain Strong students were evacuated a short time later, around 3:45 p.m. Students were released in a similar manner: bus students, students picked up by parents and then walkers. Students were instructed to walk east out of the school area.

Lewisville Middle School will be open from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday so students can pick up their belongings.

The story ends there, but continued a little longer for our staff. We weren't able to return to our campus for another hour after most kids went home. The nice police had some pizza that they gave us. Finally, we were able to go quick to our classrooms, then to our cars, and go home. Being involved with this today made me realize how lucky I am to work with a fantastic staff, to have patient students, and happy to be home tonight. It was a long day with no lunch. They had planned to feed us in the gym until the high school went into lockdown and we weren't able to get the food to the kids. The kids were good, although hungry, bored, and tired. I answered an array of questions with "I don't know." We visited, played concentration games, and braided hair. I skipped my workout today.

If you squint, you can almost see my car in the parking lot...


Juicey said...

Whoa! Crazy yo! Glad to hear you're okay and no one was harmed.


Anonymous said...

I was happy to hear when you all were home safe.