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Dakota Lockdown Sparks Call for More School-to-Parent Communication

In the wake of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School and a lockdown at Dakota Tuesday, local parents say increased communication with their own schools, especially in emergency situations, wouldn't go unappreciated.

UPDATE: According to a text notification from Dakota High School Wednesday, a mail out regarding the lockdown was sent at 4:24 p.m. Tuesday. The notice was resent Wednesday after administrators learned not all parents had received it. 

Even after the lockdown at Dakota High School was lifted Tuesday and the initial threat deemed false, parents following the story continued to raise a common question on Patch: Why wasn't I notified?

With the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School still an all too recent memory, local parents are calling for increased communication with their own schools, especially in emergency situations.

Read more: Chippewa Valley Schools to Remain on Modified Lockdown This Week; Other Districts Up Own Security

"Stuff like this should be posted somewhere so parents know what the heck is going on," wrote Gina Bryant on Macomb Patch's Facebook page

"Parents should be notified immediately. This is ridiculous!" added Michelle Ford Wygocki.

The high school was put into lockdown at around 1 p.m. Tuesday after a threat was discovered on the wall of one of the school's bathrooms, according to Macomb County Sheriff Anthony Wickersham.

Wickersham said the message was discovered in one of the girl's bathrooms and contained the words, "Bang, Bang," next to the drawing of a gun. Chippewa Valley Schools Community Relations Director Diane Blain added the message also contained a specific date and time.

“The threat was found to be false, but any time we find something like that we are going to take it seriously,” Blain said.

Although all Chippewa Valley schools have been operating in a state of modified lockdown this week, Macomb County sheriff's officers and K9 units were called to the school immediately after administrators learned of the threat. 

Blain said Chippewa Valley will continue investigating the threat and if the writer is identified, he or she could face disciplinary action or permanent expulsion.

In a letter posted on the Dakota website Tuesday, Principal Paul Sibley urged parents to talk to their children about the incident and "remind them of the serious consequences associated with making verbal or written threats against the Dakota High School community, including those posted on social media."

While the lockdown was lifted without incident, parents like Barb Rutherford Jones say some official notification, such as a text, would have been appreciated at the start of the lockdown.

In a letter to parents this week, Chippewa Valley Superintendent Ron Roberts said: "We want you to know that the safety and security of your children is our number one priority and we are prepared to do whatever we feel is necessary to keep our schools safe. During this time we ask for your support and your cooperation."

What security practices or procedures would you have your district implement?

Rick Shoup December 19, 2012 at 03:23 PM
My company provides a Text Alert system for three school districts.Capac, Lapeer and New Haven.Parents receive text alerts in seconds if there is an emergency or school closing. I would be happy to speak to any school administrator that wanted information on out system. You can reach us at 586-219-5961 or email us at rick@ kwktxt.com

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