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Training Pays Off During Lockdown at School

Staff takes precaution as police were searching nearby wooded area for fugitive described as armed and dangerous.
(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Coleman Elementary, Tuesday, received a call of a possible armed gunman in a nearby wooded area just as students were dismissed for the day.

"It was probably the worst possible situation you could have. It's busy, everybody is coming to pick up their children, the buses are coming in," said school principal Michael Otto.

Teachers and staff immediately went into action.

"I was just walking to my locker and heard we were going into lockdown," said student Ethan Lowe.

"The first objective was to get everybody inside," said Otto. "It's dismissal time, so when you go into a lockdown, it means all the doors are locked. So our job is to get them inside."

Students are drilled on lockdowns and knew what to do.

"They told us to go to our shelter," said 6th grader Taylor Williams. "You to go a corner and turn off the lights. If everyone is in the classroom you put a green sign up. If not, then you put a red sign up."

Even though students were well practiced on what to do, there were still some scared kids during the lockdown.

"I didn't know what was going on," said 6th grader Jolie Mauer.

"It was just really scary," said Williams. "Our class huddled up in a corner. Half the girls were about to start crying."

Outside, there were also some concerned parents.

"Especially when your child is inside and you walk up to a wooded area with police and cameramen," said Hayley McKinney, who arrived at the school to get her son and was surprised to see the events going on.

After a tense 30 minutes, the all clear was given and students could go home.

"When you think about the highest percentage of what can happen in a school, it's either an intruder or something happened nearby. We rehearse this monthly," Principal Otto said.

"It's becoming all too common, honestly," he added. "At times, when things happen, we live in a time where we take things very, very seriously when it comes to our children's safety. We're well rehearsed and ready to go."

Otto said staff and students responded well during the lockdown. He says they all did exactly as they've practiced.
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