NEEDLES — Concerned adults seem to have been one of the larger problems confronted during a school lockdown situation on the morning of Aug. 30.
Schools were locked down from shortly after 10 a.m. until 11:19 a.m. after students at Vista Colorado Elementary School reported a student on campus with a gun, according to Needles Unified School District Superintendent Mary McNeil, Ph.D.
Deputies of Needles’ Colorado River Station of the San Bernardino County Sheriff Department arrived within minutes to investigate and later tweeted that, “Today deputies responded to Vista Colorado Elem(entary) School in Needles for a report of a possible gun on campus. The school was placed on lockdown as a precaution. Deputies investigated the report, which was determined to be unfounded. There was no threat to the school.”
It may not have appeared that way to school staff, however. “In the event today, school office staff felt threatened by adults who were outside of the school office and were yelling and pounding on the glass,” McNeil’s incident report read. “Please help us to do our job to keep our students and staff safe by staying off campus until the ‘all clear’ is given.”
Situated next to one another along Bailey Avenue and Washington Street, all three schools: Vista Colorado Elementary, Needles Middle and High schools were locked down. “During our lockdown scenarios all doors and gates were secured and no students were checked out. This is a very important part of our ability to keep all individuals on campus safe. Adults who came onto campus were not allowed into the locked office until the ‘all clear’ was given,” McNeil reported, advising adults to wait off school grounds until any emergency scenario has ended and to refrain from pounding on buildings and yelling at staffers while one is in progress. “Our staff is trying to monitor the situation and these distractions are disruptions to our ability to keep all persons safe,” she cautioned.
McNeil’s report concluded: “We would like to thank the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department for their rapid response to our school sites. I would also like to thank all Needles Unified School District staff for their diligence and rapid response to this threat. Our primary focus is as always to keep our students safe.”