Parents Angry Over School Lockdown

Friday, December 5th 2008, 12:33 am
By: News 9

By Rusty Surette, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Parents were kept in the dark when Western Heights High School went on lockdown Thursday.

Police searched the school for weapons Thursday afternoon after a rumor spread that a student may have had a gun on campus. After every locker and student were searched by the authorities and police dogs, police found no weapons.

But parents are furious because they said school administrators lied to them about what really happened during the lockdown. Parents are also upset that the school is punishing students for trying to contact their parents during the lockdown.

"According to the principal, it was just a drill," mother Charnissa Jackson said.

Jackson wasn't alone. Mirllene Smith was told the same thing.

"I called the school. They told me it was just a drill," Smith said.

But when students were kept half an hour after school ended, many concerned parents started calling NEWS 9 to find out what was really going on.

Although NEWS 9 was also told it was a drill, students were held until a real weapons search was over. During the search, a number of frightened students were texting their parents.

"My daughter sent me a text message about 1:15 p.m. or 1:30 p.m." Smith said.

Student Jeffrey Jackson also texted his parents during the incident.

"I texted my dad and was telling him what was going on and that I was okay and stuff," Jeffrey said.

Jeffrey said that's when his teacher demanded his phone. When he and other students refused to comply, police escorted them out of class and the principal suspended them for one day.

"My daughter has never been through anything like that before. She was scared to death and anytime she's scared she knows to call mom or dad," Smith said.

Parents said they'll fight the suspensions and they hope administrators will learn a valuable lesson.

"Tell the truth. That's a simple basic fact everybody teaches their children from a young age on. Tell the truth. Don't lie," Smith said.

The superintendent and assistant superintendent would not comment on the incident directly, but they sent out a statement saying "We regret that callers to the school were initially told the situation was a routine drill."

Parents were told the school will be sending home a statement with students Friday explaining what happened.