Parents "reassured" by Robert Cross school lockdown - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Parents "reassured" by Robert Cross school lockdown

DOUGHERTY CO., GA (WALB) -

Dougherty County School Police and administrators say a code red lockdown at a school Monday turned out to be a successful test of their emergency plan.

Robert Cross Middle School was locked down as police surrounded the school looking for a suspicious man, spotted walking inside the school.

As we first reported this morning in e-mail news alerts, the suspicious man turned out to a be a school system employee. Following the Newtown, Connecticut school massacre, security in schools is a top priority in every community. Dougherty County School administrators say Monday morning their policies worked well.

And Parents say they are glad school officials take their kids safety seriously. Arniecesha Price said she is relieved Robert Cross Middle School was not the scene of violence.

 Price said "It's really hard now to send your children to school. You know you are really worried are they safe."

After recent tragic school shootings, parents say they know South Georgia schools have to be prepared.  The scary thing is it could happen even here? Joseph Carter said "Yes, sir. It could. It could. That's why we pray that it doesn't happen."

About 8 this morning a suspicious man was spotted inside the school.

Dougherty County School Public Information Director R.D. Harter said "It was a teacher that did not recognize the person. They notified the principal who put the building under Code Red for an unidentified person while we could determine who that person was."

Under a Code Red, all school doors are locked, no one in or out. The students go into classrooms, and the doors locked.

Dougherty County School Police Officer Laniece Pope was in the school, and started a search. More School Police Officers and Dougherty County Police rushed in to back her up, searching the school inside and out. The suspicious man turned out to be a school system facilities maintenance employee, wearing a winter coat.

 Dougherty County School Police Chief Troy Conley said "Being that he had the coat on, she did not recognize him being in the school system facilities uniform. Didn't see his identification badge. So she did what was expected of her."

The Code Red was lifted within 15 minutes, and school administrators say their emergency procedures worked just as planned.

Conley said "I'm glad that this particular incident was just, in fact what it was, a false alarm. But again I applaud the teacher, the administrators that acted accordingly."

Parents say they are reassured.

Vincent Raven said "I think they handled it pretty good. I think they were very attentive. Very assertive."

Price said "Yes, more reassured that they are paying attention and you know they have beefed up security and really paying attention to what's going on around the schools and the community."

Because kids heading home after school safely is the only passing grade for a school emergency readiness security plan. @

School board members were immediately called about the Code Red incident. Five Dougherty County Police officers responded to the school as well as school police.

Dougherty County School officials did not send out a notice about the code red on their parental notification link, saying that they did not want a lot of parents rushing to the school, while the search for a suspicious person was underway.

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