School district takes lessons from lockdown at Carson Middle School
Although a gun scare at Carson Middle School turned out to be a hoax, there are lessons to be learned from the events that followed, said Carson City School District superintendent Richard Stokes.
“I think it’s a critical piece of any response process,” he said. “Thankfully, we don’t have to go through these things often, but if you learn every time you’re going to improve your ability to serve. That’s obviously what we want.”
Stokes told the Carson City School Board on Tuesday that the district will increase its communication with parents during lockdowns and increase the number of drills.
“We were very interested in that feedback,” he said.
Stokes said many parents wished the district had used its school message system to contact all Carson Middle School parents by phone or text to alert them of the lockdown, provide updates and notify them when the situation had been resolved.
“They wanted that information even if it was non-specific,” Stokes said.
A student reported about 1 p.m. May 29 that he had seen fellow students loading a gun in a bathroom. School officials sent the school into lockdown.
As police investigators began questioning the student, Stokes said, “his story began to fall apart.”
By then, Stokes said, dozens of parents had begun gathering in the streets surrounding the school.
“As the events inside the building started winding down,” he said, “the events outside the building were increasing.”
The focus switched to reuniting the 1,200 students inside the school with their worried parents outside.
“We can rethink that process and see what we can do to better organize them,” Stokes said. “Our goal would be to try to get parents and students reunited as quickly as possible.”
Trustee Stacie Wilkie suggested the district use social media during an emergency, as it’s easier to access.
Stokes said the district received several positive responses as well.
“They were appreciative of the quick action taken,” he said. “They were very grateful there was no loss or injury associated with this event.”
Trustee Ron Swirczek commended the district and the Carson City Sheriff’s Office for their cooperation.
“I think you guys did a great job,” he said. “Everybody worked together to take care of these kids.”