Cordova schools’ 20-minute lockdown ends in all clear

Mt. Eccles Elementary School and Cordova Jr./Sr. High School went into a 20-minute lockdown on Monday, Sept. 10 after reports that an individual was seen walking near the elementary school with weaponry.

The lockdown began at 3:25 p.m., just as students were to begin leaving both schools for the day, and ended at 3:45 p.m., after school district officials received an “all clear” from local law enforcement, who took the individual in for questioning.

Authorities determined that there was no threat or danger posed to the public from the individual, who had been seen walking with weaponry near the intersection of Adams Avenue and Main Street. No information was released regarding the individual or weaponry.

School superintendent Alex Russin said in a letter to the community, parents and students that authorities determined there was no threat or danger posed to the public.

We are grateful for students, parents and staff who remained calm and followed protocol and to law enforcement who assessed the situation and provided valuable information to administration on site, he said.

Around 7:45 p.m., the high school posted a message on its Facebook page, to help parents reassuring their students who may have been afraid and concerned about the lockdown.

They offered three suggestions from local behavioral health professionals:

1) Listen and acknowledge your child’s feelings. You do not need to talk them out of their feelings ­— it was a scary and confusing event for a child or even an adolescent. “Sounds like you felt ________ (fill in the blank)” is a supportive statement.

2) Let students know that “the system” worked to keep everyone safe. A person reported what they saw, the school called the police, police responded and investigated. In the meantime, the school shut their doors to keep students safe.

3) It is not so important to have all the answers to their questions; it is most important to listen to and validate their feelings. If there are questions that a teacher or principal might be able to answer, follow up with the school.