Archive for Thursday, April 19, 2007

Eudora schools in ‘low-level’ lockdown

April 19, 2007

Eudora USD 491 School District officials conducted an early morning sweep and a "light lockdown" Thursday in response to an unspecified bomb threat called in to the Douglas County Dispatch, Superintendent Marty Kobza said.

The district took action after learning the threat was directed toward an unspecified city hall and school, Kobza said.

"Anytime that we are in this situation the students' safety is always our priority and we are taking every course we can without trying to create panic among anyone," he said. "It's just a typical safety process to make sure everything is as safe as possible, but again, we're walking through making sure everything is as normal as it can be."

After being notified of the threat, the district sent multiple people to comb through each of the district's buildings to search for anything out of the ordinary, district communications director Kristin Magette said. As of 9:45 a.m., the exterior doors of district buildings were locked but classes were proceeding as normal, Magette said.

To inform parents, Kobza left a taped message on the phones of parents listed on the district's phone broadcast system, assuring them he was confident all the necessary safety measures were in place to ensure a productive learning environment.

The Eudora City Police Department informed both the school district and city employees of the threat, Sergeant Greg Neis said. Officers assisted in the school search and searched the Eudora City Hall, but found nothing suspicious, he said.

As of Thursday morning, the city was conducting business as normal, Neis said.

"As far as I am concerned, there is not a whole lot to be worked up about," he said. "But it is another reminder to be more vigilant of what's going on."

De Soto school district officials were aware and monitoring the situation in Douglas County as well as a threat found in a women's restroom in the Turner School District, but had taken no direct action as of Thursday morning, community relations director Alvie Cater said.

But district officials have been stressing the need for greater awareness of the district's security procedures since the Monday shooting at Virginia Tech, Cater said.

As part of that effort, Superintendent Sharon Zoellner will visit the district's schools Thursday afternoon and stress the basics of that plan with principals, Cater said. That would include being watchful and approaching visitors to the school without proper identification or anything "that doesn't look right," he said.

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