Lockdown Drill Creates Confusion, Fear

Posted at: 11/14/2013 11:19 PM
By: John Doetkott

(ABC 6 News) -- Around 9 o'clock Thursday morning, an announcement came over the loudspeaker at Austin High School saying the school was on a “code red” lockdown.

Unfortunately that's all the message said, leaving some students worried.

“That somebody was in the school trying to kill us or something,” said Maya Edwards, a sophomore at AHS. “I don't know. I didn't think that was going to happen."

“It just kind of gets your mind racing about the possibilities of all the school shootings that go on,” said sophomore Evan Dunlop. “You kind of worry."

School officials said they didn't tell students or staff that it was a drill because they wanted them to react as if it were the real thing. Which is exactly what some parents did.

“She texted me, told me they were in lockdown,” said Diane Lenway, who heard about the situation from her daughter. “She was sitting on the floor waiting to find out what was going on.

Lenway was just one of dozens of parents who were told by their kids what was happening, and with no word from the school, she and others were forced to turn to social media for answers.

“It really concerns me when parents have to count on Facebook as the most reliable source of information in a situation like that,” Lenway said.

Lenway said the rumors and hearsay only made the situation worse, saying a message from the school would have gone a long way to putting worried minds at ease.

“Something to tell us we can count on the school to make sure our kids are safe,” Lenway said. “Communicate that to us, not make us feel like they're hiding something."

The school does have a messaging system to contact parents in emergency situations, but the school's principal said it's not part of protocol to notify parents during drills.

But due to the confusion Thursday, he said they will be sending out letters to parents reminding them about the drills to hopefully avoid a similar situation in the future.