Local - October 14
3:54 pm
Mon October 14, 2013

Lock-Down: A Standard Procedure for New Hanover County Schools in Event of Police Activity

Listen to the audio version here.

On Thursday, Wilmington’s Freeman Elementary and Mosley Performance Learning Center were both locked from the outside for several hours following a shooting at the nearby Creekwood housing community. The next day, a gunfire incident behind the College Road K-Mart led to the brief lock-down of Isaac Bear Early College. A lock-down means access to and from the schools is restricted, and classrooms lock their doors, turn off the lights and shut the blinds. New Hanover County Schools go into this heightened security mode whenever police activity occurs in the vicinity of a school.

Local students train for lock-downs the same way they drill for fires and hurricanes. New Hanover County Schools’ chief communications officer Valita Quattlebaum says the district adopted such procedures several years ago.

"As society evolves of course we have to evolve. And as different situations happen we adjust our safety accordingly. So, but safety is a part of the school district—of all school districts—but it’s definitely an important priority in New Hanover County Schools."

Quattlebaum says that because students are trained to line up and listen to their teachers during such procedures, they’re not typically scared or panicked. If a lockdown or shelter-in-place goes on for an extended period of time, or results in delayed school dismissal, parents are alerted via phone and social media.