Lockdowns lifted at Belton schools

A lockdown at Belton High School is leaving parents frustrated tonight.

BELTON - BELTON - Belton ISD lifted a hard lockdown at Belton High School and Belton High School 9th Grade Center at noon on Thursday following a 911 call that suggested there was a person at the school with a gun. At the time of the lockdown, Belton police said the lockdown was to facilitate an investigation. 

Sparta Elementary School was placed on a soft lockdown during that time and it was lifted at noon as well.  

The Bell County Sheriffs Office, which had deputies on scene, confirmed the reason for the lockdown shortly after 10 a.m. -- a 911 caller that stated there were a person with a gun in the school. The sheriff's office could not confirm the presence of an actual gun at any time that morning. 

Belton ISD spokesperson Kyle DeBeer told media at 11 a.m. "at no time this morning, has there been any active threat to any of our schools here at Belton ISD." He was not able to confirm any details about the police investigation at the time - including whether or not there was a gun on campus. 

Meanwhile parents got a variety of information and pictures from their students inside. Some photos showed kids hiding in rooms with the lights turned off or police checking student bags. One child later said that police were patting down students themselves to check for a weapon. A variety of rumors on who had a gun and their location on campus were circulating at that time. 

Belton ISD had sent out texts to parents at 9:50 a.m. that morning stating "At the request of the Belton Police, BHS and Bhs9 are on a hard lockdown to facilitate an investigation. Sparta Elementary is also on a soft lockdown."

Parents said they were frustrated that the district did not provide any specifics on the reason for the investigation or the presence of a gun.

The lockdown ended at noon but it was not until 3 p.m. that Belton ISD released a statement to clarify the situation.

The release stated:  

"I can now confirm that the investigation was prompted by a 911 call. The caller claimed
that there was a person at Bhs9 with a gun. The police department conducted a thorough
investigation at Bhs9 and BHS. No gun was found."

Belton ISD spokesman Kyle DeBeer later told Channel 6 that the release was sent out when the school district received information on the incident from the Belton Police Department.

The investigation has now shifted to finding the person responsible for the 911 call. If you have any helpful information, please contact Belton ISD at 254-316-8182 or tipline@bisd.net.

You can read the full Belton ISD press release below. 

Belton ISD Superintendent Susan Kincannon released the following statement: 

Dear Parents,

I  wanted  to  follow  up  on  the  lockdowns  at  Belton  High  School,  Bhs9  and  Sparta
Elementary School earlier today.

Just  before  9:30  a.m.,  the  Belton  Police  Department  asked  us  to  help  facilitate  an ongoing investigation by placing Belton High School and Bhs9 on a hard lockdown. We also  placed  Sparta  Elementary  School  on  a  soft  lockdown,  because  the  campus  is adjacent to those buildings. At no time was there an active threat to any of our schools, and the lockdowns were lifted just before noon.


We reached out to parents via email and text message shortly after the lockdowns began
and again once they had been lifted. (If you didn’t receive a text message, please see the
instructions on how to sign up at www.bisd.net/sms)


As the mother of a BHS student, I know how disconcerting it is to learn that your child’s
school is on a hard lockdown and that you want details about what is happening. That’s
why  my  goal  has  been  to  share  as much  information  as  possible  with  you  as  soon  as
possible while ensuring that the information is accurate.


I can now confirm that the investigation was prompted by a 911 call. The caller claimed
that there was a person at Bhs9 with a gun. The police department conducted a thorough
investigation at Bhs9 and BHS. No gun was found.


The  investigation  has  now  shifted  to  identifying  the  caller.  Both  the  Belton  Police
Department and Belton ISD take this threat seriously, and the caller can expect to face
serious  consequences.  If  your  student  has  information  about  the  threat,  he  or  she  can
share it using our tip line: 254-316-8182 or tipline@bisd.net


I  want  to  thank  Chief  Ellis  and  the  Belton  Police  Department  for  their  response.  It  is
evidence  of  the  strong  partnership  that  we  have  and  of  our  shared  commitment  to  the
safety of our students, staff and schools.


I also want to thank our students. I know that being kept in the classroom and not being
able to move about the school can be uncomfortable. Our students did a great job and
followed  the  lockdown  procedures,  which  allowed  the  police  to  conduct  their
investigation.


There have been some stressful moments today, and it’s times like this when I am thankful
to be part of a community that supports our students. Thank you for making the Big Red
Community a great place to live.


Sincerely,
Susan Kincannon, Ed.D.
Superintendent

 

(© 2016 KCEN)


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