Par­ents out­raged af­ter ac­tive shooter alert with­out warn­ing

Orlando Sentinel - - LOCAL & STATE - By Michael Wil­liams

A voice an­nounc­ing a “Code Red” over loud­speak­ers at Lake Brant­ley High School sent some stu­dents and teach­ers into a panic Thurs­day morn­ing, fright­ened that an ac­tive shooter was tar­get­ing peo­ple on cam­pus.

The alert was part of an unan­nounced drill, which in­fu­ri­ated some par­ents who wor­ried their chil­dren were trau­ma­tized by the ex­pe­ri­ence.

Me­gan Storm, 16, said she was in her AP Mu­sic The­ory class when she heard some­one say “Code Red” over the loud­speaker. She said the an­nounce­ment didn’t men­tion the threat wasn’t real.

Me­gan said she and her class­mates hid in the back of a locker room for 20 min­utes. Other stu­dents were tex­ting their par­ents to let them know they were OK, but Me­gan didn’t have her phone and wasn’t able to speak with her par­ents un­til the drill was over.

“I wasn’t re­ally sure what was go­ing to hap­pen,” Me­gan said. “But based on all the stuff you hear … you think there’s [ a shooter] who is go­ing to get you.”

Michael Lawrence, a spokesman for the school dis­trict, said the panic was not pri­mar­ily caused by the drill, but by a stu­dent who later shared a screen­shot of an alert that some teach­ers had re­ceived dur­ing the “Code Red.”

“Ac­tive Shooter re­ported at Brant­ley / Build­ing 1/ Build­ing 2 and other build­ings by B Shafer at 10:21:45. Ini­ti­ate a Code Red Lock­down,” said the au­to­mated textmes­sage alert re­ceived by teach­ers. The alert gave no in­di­ca­tion the threat was a drill.

Lawrence said that mes­sage was shared among stu­dents on Snapchat dur­ing lunch, caus­ing a sec­ond panic. In a recorded mes­sage to par­ents Thurs­day evening, Lake Brant­ley prin­ci­pal Dr. Trent Daniel also at­trib­uted the panic to a so­cial me­dia post.

“Ad­min­is­tra­tors be­lieve that stu­dents are re­spon­si­ble for the post­ing,” she said, adding that the post is be­ing in­ves­ti­gated “as a dis­ci­plinary mat­ter and all re­spon­si­ble par­ties will be dis­ci­plined.” She said the drill was “stan­dard prac­tice” and “went well.”

Lawrence said the dis­trict’s schools of­ten con­duct drills — some of them unan­nounced — and im­me­di­ately alert par­ents with au­to­mated mes­sages. “I think to­day the mes­sage did go out, but I think it went out a lit­tle bit later than we nor­mally do,” he said.

Lake Brant­ley High School ad­min­is­tra­tors posted a mes­sage on the dis­trict’s Face­book page at 11:12 a.m., nearly an hour af­ter the drill be­gan: “This morn­ing at ap­prox­i­mately 10:21am, LBHS con­ducted a Code Red Drill on our cam­pus, per­for­mance by Semi­nole County [Sher­iff’s Of­fice]. This was only a drill to con­tinue to prac­tice for the se­cu­rity and safety of our stu­dents. Thank you!”

Dozens of an­gry par­ents re­sponded to the mes­sage, want­ing to know why there was no no­tice of the drill.

“Get­ting a ran­dom mid-day text from my son that says ‘I love you there is a shooter on cam­pus’ is

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.