Schools on the Adair County campus were under lock down Thursday afternoon after a suspended student returned to campus. The student was located around 45 minutes later.
School officials were first told the student was on campus and could potentially have a weapon, according to Superintendent Alan Reed.
At 1:05 p.m., School Resource Officer Kevin Atwood notified City Chief Jason Cross of a potential threat and requested assistance. Within three minutes, four additional officers were on campus, according to Cross. On-duty and off duty officers responded and within 10 minutes, a total of 11 officers were on campus searching for the juvenile.
School grounds were searched and the juvenile was not located. The campus then went on a “soft lock down,” which meant students could move about within the schools but people could not enter and leave.
At 1:54 p.m. the juvenile was located by CPD Sgt. Murphy and Chief Cross on Greensburg Street off school property and taken into custody. No weapons were found and law enforcement is following up to determine if there ever was a weapon involved.
The student had been suspended the previous day. Reed would not confirm but a source told the Community Voice that the student rode the bus to school that morning because his guardian did not know he had been suspended. He returned to campus to ride the bus back home.
Reed said he was still looking into the situation and time frame but said parents are always contacted when a student is suspended. He did not know yet if the incident had happened late in the day or if officials had been unable to reach the guardian.
Reed said he received a complaint that a telephone messenger system was not used at the beginning of the situation. It was used afterward. It takes about 15 minutes to set up the system and there just wasn’t time, Reed said.
“Protect students first, then go from there,” he said.
Reed said he was “thrilled” with the cooperation of the city police and sheriff’s office in the incident. He also complimented school staff for their efforts.
“We’ve got a pretty good team. Most of the time you don’t even have to execute the plan, but when you do it’s good to know it works,” Reed said.
Reed and Chief Cross both said the incident demonstrates the importance of the School Resource Officer.
“We could not run our system in a safe manner without an SRO,” Reed said.
Cross said it was also an example of why officers are allowed to take cruisers home when they are off duty. They are expected to respond in emergencies such as this, he said.
By Sharon Burton