Police pursuit locks down SK schools

While a 24-year-old South Kitsap man fled law enforcement Friday afternoon, a number of schools went into lock-down, closing doors, shades and preventing any movement in and out of the school.

Mullenix, Manchester and South Colby Elementary, and John Sedgwick Junior High were all locked down Friday afternoon.

In the most extreme case, South Colby students remained in lock-down mode for more than three hours, and only released student-by-student as their parents one-by-one.

But South Colby Principal Brian Pickard said even though the school was locked down, students were able to participate in activities within their classrooms, and even finish their homework.

Because the suspect was outside the school, and administrators had a good description of him, they did not need to go into full lock-down, in which students and teachers remain underneath tables and desks.

“The fact that we knew who the person was, we were able to deal with things a little bit differently,” Pickard said.

Students watched videos, did their home work or participated in other activities for the three-hour lock-down. Some students, he said, even had fun.

When the school enacted a controlled release, in which parents came and picked up their students on at a time, several kids said they wanted to stay longer.

The lock-down also helped the school prepare for future emergencies. Pickard said the district saw what was working, and what needed improvement.

The automated message system used to contact parents worked perfectly, Pickard said.

“They key to it was communication,” Pickard said. “That’s why it worked as well as it did.”

At South Colby, a lock-down separates students from restrooms, and often pulls in district staff from other locations who are unfamiliar to teachers and students within the building.

In the future, Pickard hopes to address some of these issues.

Monday, campus looked like nothing had happened the previous week. South Colby did not see a noticeable drop in attendance, and Pickard called the day “as normal a day as you could possibly have.”

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