‘It was very scary’: Students reunited with parents after school lockdown
ALEXANDRIA, Ind. (WISH) — Parents of students at Alexandria-Monroe Junior Senior High School say they were relieved to see their children were safe after their school was on lockdown Monday morning due to a suspected threat.
The active threat at the high school that’s about an hour’s drive northeast of downtown Indianapolis shook up the city of 5,100 residents but, police say, the incident ended with no injuries and no active threat.
Initial reports called the incident an active threat. Police would only say someone made a call, and, within a minute, the school resource officer assessed the scene, sharing no signs of threat.
At the height of the scare, roughly half a dozen agencies responded.
Police say they are not necessarily on high alert, just always ready.
“And, again, that shows the dedication. It is for law enforcement to keep students safe in their schools,” said Sgt. Scott Keegan with the Indiana State Police. “You can see the response to this is very serious, and, again, the message should be clear, whether it’s prank or not, we’re going to respond as an active situation. But, it’s never a good thing to utilize these resources for some type of prank.”
“We are a reactive response to situations like this,” Keegan said.
Students will return to the classrooms Tuesday, the school superintendent said in a statement issued Monday night.
Parents tell News 8 they are thankful that no one was hurt, and some students say it was a scary situation.
“Very scary. My hands were shaking like this,” Chloe Eastwood, a sophomore at the school, said.
Chloe believes she was inside her classroom for two hours — waiting. “Definitely it was very scary because there was nothing that we could really do. We weren’t getting told anything or was informed about anything, but everyone else knew what was going on around us.”
Chloe says many questions remained unanswered. “We were just talking about if it was real or not. We couldn’t figure it out. We had people texting us from outside of school saying that shots were fired and a whole bunch of different stuff, so we don’t really know what happened.”
Student Carson Wood reunited with his stepfather Carl Vaughan. Carson says one teacher gave all the students instructions on the intercom. “He said, ‘Hard lockdown, hard lockdown,’ and then everybody barricaded the doors and we just got in our spot.”
Moms and dads reunited with their kids at the Alexandria Baptist Church after facing what could have been their worst nightmare. Vaughan said, “I’ve been in prayer all morning.”
He added, “My wife, his mother is a teacher here, so she started the link and then he started the link, so I’ve kind of had an inside scoop all morning.”
The school has 763 students in Grades 7-12, according to the Indiana Department of Education. The district’s elementary school also was placed on lockdown.
Superintendent Melissa Brisco tweeted about 1 p.m., “Thank you to the Alexandria Police Department and all first responders for their help! There was no threat found, all students are safe and we’re working to reunify all parents and students. #AlexTigers”
News 8 reached out to the Alexandria Community School Corp. for an interview, but they declined to comment.
“Alexandria, Indiana – On April 17, 2023, detectives from the Indiana State Police Pendleton District were requested to investigate an active threat that was called into the Alexandria/Monroe Jr./ Sr. High School.
“That morning, at approximately 10:03 a.m., the Madison County Sheriff’s Department Dispatch received a telephone call from a person allegedly posing as an employee from the school. The individual provided information that implied there was an active threat taking place within the school. This type of threat generated an immediate and massive response from law enforcement agencies within Madison County and also surrounding counties.
“Alexandria/Monroe Jr./Sr. High School was placed on lockdown while law enforcement officers secured and searched the school. Responding officers discovered there was no active threat or any students injured. Students were then evacuated and transported by bus to the Alexandria Baptist Church (2107 S Park Avenue, Alexandria, Indiana) to be reunited with family members.
“The Indiana State Police would like to remind the public that any and all real or perceived threats towards a school and/or its students will be investigated with utmost urgency. If any individual has information on the event that happened today, they are encouraged to contact the Indiana State Police Pendleton District at (765) 778-2121.
“This is an ongoing investigation, more information will be provided as it becomes available.”
Indiana State Police at 8:51 p.m. April 17, 2023
Superintendent’s message to parents
“April 17, 2023
“First, thank you for your patience and understanding as we worked through a very challenging situation today. The students, staff, and first responders reacted quickly and responsively to keep everyone safe and secure.
“Today around 10:00 AM a phone call was made to the Alexandria Police Department claiming that shots were fired at the high school. The dispatch immediately notified the School Resource Officer and the building went into a lockdown. The police response was immediate and impressive. All students and staff were safely secured in the building until the police cleared each room. At that point students were moved to the Baptist Church to be reunified with their families.
“There was no threat found at the high school, and all students have been reunified with their families. The threat was made to the high school, but out of an abundance of caution, the elementary was placed on lockdown too. The elementary students were held at the school until the police released the building back to administration and a plan for reunification could be implemented. We understand the stress this places on families, so we want to express our appreciation and gratitude for your patience with us.
“School will be in session tomorrow at normal time. There will be an increased law enforcement presence, and counseling support will be available for any student or staff needing it.
“Again, we want to express our appreciation for all the first responders, community members, and the Baptist Church for their work to support our students and staff. It’s truly amazing to see a community come together when the need is there.”
Melissa Brisco, superintendent of Alexandria Community School Corp.