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Law enforcement weighs in on the do’s and don’ts of a school lockdown

(WBNG) — After several school districts throughout the Southern Tier experienced lockouts or lockdowns within recent months, local law enforcement is sharing its do’s and don’ts on how the community should react.

“I’m a parent myself, I have kids in high school and your first gut reaction is if something going on at the high school, to respond to the high school, but that’s not necessarily going to help anyone. So, the superintendent’s job and my job are to protect students and staff and in doing that, that’s getting the information we have, acting upon that information then letting people know what that is,” said Endicott Police Chief Patrick Garey.

Union-Endicott Superintendent Suzanne McLeod says staff and students prepare for these situations.

“We’re required [by the state] to practice these procedures and have done so and do so in collaboration with police,” said McLeod.

Deputy Robert Stapleton with the Broome County Sheriff’s Office says there are simple ways you can help law enforcement during an emergency situation.

Starting with parents keeping their distance from the area.

“It could cause confusion to law enforcement, you know if there is an intruder or someone who’s not supposed to be there and we have dozens of parents showing up, we don’t know who’s who,” he said.

Adding it’s also helpful to keep emergency phone lines freed up.

“The 911 center should not be called during a lockdown or school emergency unless you have something legitimate to report. There’s limited amount of dispatchers that have certain tasks and they don’t want to be bogged down by extra phone calls,” said Stapleton.

Lastly, he says open communication is key between parents and children.

“Have a discussion before god forbid this ever happens of what the child should do in the classroom or in the building,” he said.

Saying they understand a parent’s frustration and concern, however, they urge the public to trust the schools and law enforcement to do their part in keeping the community safe.

Jackie Prager

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