Lack of Communication that Caused Total Panic
At 10:10am my sister Katie Thompson was informed by email that their was a LOCKDOWN in effect that was minutes if not seconds away from my children’s school. For some strange reason I chose to check Facebook and well I was shocked that many other parents were informed that had children in nearby schools. I was later informed by my mother who works for the school system that the ”suspicious person” wondering the school yards started in first at the Wildwood Elementary school which was feet from my children’s school.
While I wasn’t informed about the lock down personally and got word through social media sites and text messages, I proceeded to get angrier and angrier as we not to long ago had an incident with a student that shut down Amherst Regional High School for the day, leaving nearby schools open and with huge targets on themselves. So I made the call to my children’s school and called my youngest son’s classroom and was informed that they where unaware of any lockdown and that they hadn’t gone into lock down, then after hearing that I explained I’d be making phone calls. Congratulations that lead them to telling their site director different story, newsflash I called the main branch and expressed my concerns, you want to run a government funded program yet we have to pay fee’s for our children to attend… you’re going to learn that shit’s going to be done properly. I’m a parent of three that attend this school, I’ll go to every person there and make my voice heard and if that don’t work I’ll go to the local news outlets.
So I speak with the head site director when I get to the school and well I express my discomfort with their ability to run this program, yes they are government funded then where does all the money you get from parents go, because if your staffs getting our money I’ll be pissed they are government employee’s, the money the parents pay towards the cost of the children going there should be for the students expenses at the school. I for example pay close to $1,000 a MONTH, Seriously that’s 3/4’s my house payment. So now at the next parent meeting I’m going to address things, along with address things with the Amherst School systems and the fact that communication with nearby schools is important and vital.
Below are copies of emails that were sent to parents (that are from the middle school and elementary school) my son’s school had yet to disclose there was a lock down and haven’t came through with offering any means of comfort.
From: Superintendent’s Office AllCallCO_Outreach@arps.org>
Date: March 26, 2014 at 11:20:38 AM EDT
Subject: Schools Lock Down
Reply-To: Superintendent’s Office AllCallCO_Outreach@arps.org>
At approximately 10 am this morning there was a report of an unaccompanied adult at the Middle School which resulted in the building being placed in lockdown status. Because of the proximity to the High School and Wildwood School, these buildings were also placed in lockdown. All other school buildings were instructed not permit visitors. The Amherst Police are at the Middle School at present.. All students and staff are accounted for and buildings have resumed normal operations.
Aproximadamente a las 10 de la mañana de hoy, un adulto sin compañia entro a la Escuela Intermedia y esto provoco que cerraramos el edificio. Debido a la proximidad a la escuela superior y Wildwood, estos edificios también fueron cerrados. El resto de los edificios escolares han recibido instrucciones de no permitir visitantes en este momento. La Policía de Amherst está en la escuela intermedia es estos momentos. Todos los estudiantes y el personal estan bien y todas las escuelas han regresado a sus operaciones normales.
On Wednesday, March 26, 2014 12:15 PM, Superintendent’s Office wrote:
TO ALL FAMILIES:
As an update, all schools are currently operating as normal. Earlier today, an unaccompanied adult male was discovered in the Middle School. As a result, the MS, HS, and WW were placed in lockdown status and the APD was called. A thorough search of the MS building was conducted and no unauthorized adult was located. The APD is conducting an investigation. Again, all schools are back to normal at this time.
PARA TODAS LAS FAMILIAS:
Todas las escuelas están operando con normalidad. Como habiamos compartido antes, Esta mañana un adulto masculino fue descubierto en la escuela intermedia. Como resultado, la escuela intermedia, la superior y Wildwood fueron cerradas por precaución. El departamento de la policía fue contactado. Se realizó una búsqueda exhaustiva de la escuela intermedia y no se identificó ninguna persona no autorizada para estar allí. La policía está llevando a cabo una investigación. Una vez más, todas las escuelas están de vuelta a la normalidad en este momento.
On Wednesday, March 26, 2014 3:11 PM, Debbie Westmoreland wrote:
Dear Parents and Guardians:
In order to provide you with more complete information, we are following up with this message. This morning a man was buzzed in at Amherst Regional Middle School and checked in at the Principals office and a district office. Rather than exiting the building after he conducted his business, he entered a public bathroom where he made a concerning comment to a student. The student exited the bathroom and immediately reported his concerns to a faculty member. The Middle School was placed in lockdown and the Amherst Police Department responded and conducted a thorough search of the building. All students and staff were accounted for. Due to their proximity to the middle school, Amherst Regional High and Wildwood were placed in lockdown as a precaution. Other schools in the district were asked to restrict visitor access until the lockdown was lifted. The Amherst Police have identified a potential suspect, and he is currently being held in custody for unrelated charges. The investigation is ongoing.
Estimados padres y tutores:
Con el fin de proporcionarles información más completa, estamos siguiendo con este mensaje. Esta mañana un hombre fue permitido entrada en la escuela intermedia regional de Amherst y se registró en la oficina principal y en una oficina del distrito. En lugar de salir del edificio después de que el llevo a cabo su negocio, el entro en un baño público, donde hizo un comentario preocupante a un estudiante. El estudiante salió del baño y de inmediato informo sus preocupaciones a un miembro de la facultad. La escuela intermedia fue colocada en confinamiento y el Departamento de Policía de Amherst respondió y llevo a cabo una búsqueda exhaustiva del edificio. Todos los estudiantes y el personal se tomaron en cuenta. Debido a su proximidad a la escuela intermedia, la escuela superior de Amherst y Wildwood fueron colocadas en confinamiento como medida de precaución. Se les pidió a las otras escuelas en el distrito restringir el acceso de visitantes, hasta que se levantara el confinamiento. La Policía de Amherst ha identificado a un sospechoso potencial, y actualmente se encuentra detenido por cargos no relacionados. La investigación continúa.
On Wednesday, March 26, 2014 6:24 PM, Debbie Westmoreland wrote:
Dear School-Wide Community:
I am writing to let you know more information about what occurred today at Amherst Regional Middle School. In fact, the man in question first accessed Wildwood School, entering through the main entrance after being buzzed into the school. Upon entry, the man spoke with the secretaries in the main office. There was nothing in the conversation between the secretaries and the man which was of any concern. We have no indication at this time that he accessed any area of Wildwood other than the main office. We will be exploring this further, but we presently do not believe he went beyond the office area.
From Wildwood, the man then went to the Middle School. Since the prior messages to you today concerning this matter, we have no additional information to report about the Middle School. To repeat from an earlier message about this matter, the Amherst Police has identified a potential suspect and is in custody for unrelated charges. The investigation is ongoing.
I know this is upsetting to parents. We will work to support all children as they arrive to school tomorrow. Please feel free to contact your building principal or the Superintendent’s office if you have any additional questions or concerns.
Estimada comunidad escolar:
Les escribo para compartir mas informacion sobre lo que ocurrio esta mañana en la escuela intermedia. El hombre que se presento en la escuela se habia presentado en Wildwood antes. El entro por la puerta principal, hablo con una secretaria y luego salio de la escuela. La conversacion fue una cordial y no fue nada controversial. No existe ninguna evidencia que indica que el visito ningun otro lugar aparte de la oficina principal.
El hombre despues fue a la escuela intermedia y ya le explicamos lo que sucedio esta mañana. No tenemos informacion adicional sobre eso.
Sabemos que esto es dificil para todos los padres. Trabajaremos juntos para apoyar a todos los estudiantes cuando vengan mañana. Por favor comuniquense con el principal de su escuela o la oficina del superintendente si tienen preguntas o preocupaciones sobre esto.