Parents fearful while Batesville schools were on lockdown

Parents fearful while Batesville schools were on lockdown
(Source: KAIT)

BATESVILLE, AR (KAIT) - A false alarm put a Region 8 school on lockdown Wednesday morning and caused panic and fear among parents.

The news spread fast across Batesville that there could be an active shooter inside Batesville High School.

"Of course, my heart fell into my stomach worried," Lori Jones said.

Jones got a call from her friend whose child was in the Junior High.

"She talked to him and he was whispering on the phone and said, you know, they were in lockdown, and they were afraid a gunman was in the school," Jones said.

Batesville High School and Junior High were on lockdown after dispatch received an unresponsive 911 call from a cell phone inside the high school.

According to Police Chief Alan Cockrill, dispatch activated the RAVE Panic Button with the active shooter designation after they realized the call came from the school.

"We initially thought the 911 call had jumped over to the new alert system," Cockrill said. "It didn't. Dispatch manually did it out of precaution."

Once the alert was issued, police immediately responded along with parents.

"By the time I had gotten to the school, I actually got a message from the principal who was saying it was a false alarm and that everything was fine," Jones said.

Batesville police and the Independence County Sheriff's Department arrived on scene and began following protocol.

Cockrill said they searched the buildings and then were notified that a student accidentally dialed 911.

While he hated what the parents went through, Cockrill feels there is a positive to the false alarm.

"The parents being taken aside, it was really good training for us," Cockrill said. "You can't simulate what happened this morning in a training exercise."

Cockrill said they learned valuable skills that will be key if a real emergency ever happens.

"We had way too many people inside the perimeter of the scene," Cockrill said. "So as far as law enforcement goes, it was a very good exercise."

The Batesville Police Department commended the teachers and students for how they responded to the alert.

Superintendent Gary Anderson said it turned out being a good drill for all involved.

Jones said it was such a relief to hear it was a false alarm, but the possibility of a school shooting is still on her mind.

"You just, you know, worry these days with everything going on that it very well could be something that can happen," Jones said.

While it was a good ending at Batesville High School Wednesday, it nonetheless reminded parents everywhere how quickly something can happen.

"I will definitely be giving them extra hugs tonight," Jones said.

Jones said she was very pleased with how the police department reacted to the situation.

As for the student who accidentally dialed 911, Cockrill said it sincerely seems like an accident and they've given authority to the school district to decide what to do.

Copyright 2015 KAIT. All rights reserved.

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