Robberies, Shootings and School Safety

By Scott Sarvay

November 29, 2012 Updated Nov 29, 2012 at 6:11 PM EDT

Fort Wayne, Ind. (www.incnow.tv) - Three Fort Wayne schools were locked down for a short time following Thursday bank robbery, Snider High School, Jefferson Middle School, and Croninger Elementary School.

FWCS officials say police and school officials work hand in hand to keep students safe.

When police identify a threat in the area they call nearby schools and the district's security department and advise them to be "on alert" or to “lockdown” the school.

When a school is locked down there's no recess, limited movement within the school and more extensive precautions if an active shooter is in the area.

A workshop was held on Thursday at the Public Safety Academy to train educators, school resource officers and law enforcement on how to best work together to tackle safety concerns.

Officials with FWCS had the following to say:

A potential lockdown situation typically starts with a phone call from the police department letting us (either a specific school or our Security Department) know of a threatening situation.

Based on the details of the situation schools may be advised to lock down or they may just be advised to be on alert. There is not a lot of difference between the two.

All exterior doors at all of our schools are always locked. Our schools always monitor who is entering and exiting the building. When a school is on alert, they are extra cautious and particularly watchful of any unusual activity. Students typically would not go out for recess.

If it escalates to a lockdown, movement within the school is limited as well. If there were an active shooter in the vicinity or in the building, there would be additional precautions taken.

What is relayed to students will, again, vary on the situation and the age of the students. They likely won't be told the details of the event, but they will be aware if they are in lockdown and can't leave the classroom or go out for recess.

Our students practice lockdown drills twice a year, just as they do fire and tornado drills. So going into a lockdown doesn't phase most students. Certainly, some will have questions and some will share the information with their parents.

We sometimes send a letter home to parents when there is a lockdown, but we don't always. It really depends on the situation leading up to and following the lockdown.

Some lockdowns last only a few minutes and are uneventful. Others involve high-profile events (such as last week's string of robberies or today's robbery or the chase from New Haven a couple weeks ago) will cause schools to send a letter home because parents have heard about the incident and want to know what is going on.

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