Parents respond to school scare

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by Karen Zatkulak

NWCN.com

Posted on February 15, 2013 at 12:10 PM

Updated Monday, Nov 25 at 11:26 AM

MERIDIAN -- Terrifying moments for some Meridian parents and students Thursday morning end in a false alarm.

Authorities locked down Heritage Middle School after reports of an armed suspect inside the building around 9 a.m.

We now know a teacher had brought a folding shovel to school, and asked a student to get it from the car.

We're told as that student brought it back into the building, several people saw what they thought was suspicious.

Authorities now know that there was no real danger to anyone inside the school and that what was first reported as an ax, was actually a shovel.

Police say the student carrying it was simply getting it for a teacher.

Police say that teacher planned to use the folding, military type shovel as part of a discussion on World War II.

But, police say any report of a weapon inside a school calls for an immediate and serious response.

That's why dozens of officers responded quickly to Heritage Middle School.

"They announced that it was a lock down so everyone moved to the side," says student Kordell Crawford. "The police came in 30 minutes later checking every room."

It was a scene that immediately took many parents back to the Connecticut shooting two months ago.

Many parents went to the school worried.

"Shock, I couldn't believe it could happen here, almost speechless like a lot of the other parents here," says parent Brian Troyer.

"Fear, I mean, this could be anywhere in America and these are our kids, so we are all just scared," says parent Cathy Miller.

The panic was clear on many parents faces as they waited for two hours.  

Then, the news everyone had hoped for-- that everyone was safe, it was a false alarm.

Some parents ran to the school gym, wanting to see their kids as soon as possible.

Hundreds of parents were then re-united with their kids.

Everyone we talked to say police handled the case correctly.

"It's scary, but I'm glad they are taking precautions and keeping our kids safe," says parent Ron Jaques.

"I feel good with what they did," says parent April Cattron. "Our kids are safe, thank God it was just a project and I think they did everything they should have," says parent April Cattron.

"Some of the things going on in our country right now, the hypersensitivity, I'd rather have them air on that side rather than have something tragic take place," says parent Drew Frogly.

Police say if there is a threat against students, this reaction is correct.

"Absolutely the right thing to do, if we get a report that these students are in danger and there is a weapon on campus we are absolutely going to respond this way every single time," says Meridian Deputy Chief Tracy Basterrechea.

We're told neither the student or teacher will be charged.

Even tough parents were then allowed to pick up their children, school did continue throughout the rest of the day.

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