Parents and students respond to weapons scare, causing school lock-downs in Meridian
Jennifer Auh talks to parents and students in response to the lock-down in Heritage Middle School. Video by IdahoOnYourSide.comvideo
A student bringing in, what was thought to be a weapon, caused a two-hour lock-down at Heritage Middle School. Meridian Police responded to initial reports of a student holding an axe inside the middle school at around 9 a.m. on Thursday.
It turned out to be a military-style shovel. However, with three mass shootings in the U.S. in the last year, police said it's better to be safe than sorry. They quickly began searching the building. School officials also locked all of the classrooms.
Parents, who heard about the news, were waiting outside the school and were on edge the whole time. One parent was volunteering at the school and was part of the lockdown.
"A parent came into the office and said she thought she saw a male student carrying an axe. I checked in saw the principal and mentioned to him that he would be needed quickly," said Bonnie Law, parent.
For almost two hours, the parents didn't know exactly what was going on. "When they couldn't give us any information. Those were the worst minutes of my life. We had no idea what was going on," said one parent.
Police officers from across the valley responded immediately, shutting down a part of Meridian Road and securing school perimeters and searching every classroom.
After school leaders and police reviewed security footage, they figured out the supposed axe, was actually just a military-style shovel.
"I can tell you we probably had at least 60 officers conducting searches throughout the school, and there were a large number of officers, patrol officers throughout the school and a number of non-uniformed officers on the perimeter," said Eric Exline, Meridian Schools Spokesperson.
Police said the shovel belonged to a teacher, who asked an 8th grader to grab it from a car to use as part of a classroom discussion on World War II. At this point, both the student and the teacher are not facing any criminal charges.
As police swarmed the school with large rifles, students at Heritage said they armed themselves with whatever they could find. "We started handing out text books, scissors and hair spray,” said one student.
Students said what happened at Sandy Hook was at the forefront of their minds. "Like everybody was expecting the worst, so the thought of the shouts and screams in the hallway was kind of the scariest part," said Abigail Strickland, student.
Although classes resumed after the lockdown was the lifted, many parents were shaken up and took their kids home. Some told us they plan to celebrate Valentine’s Day, and try to put the whole incident behind them.
The weapons scare caused 10 school lock-downs in Meridian, and it affected nearly 10,000 students and teachers in total.