A look inside the Lee lockdown - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

A look inside the Lee lockdown

By Morgan Chesky - bio | email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) – When KLTV broke the news of the lockdown at Robert E. Lee High school Tuesday afternoon, student text messages already had many parent well aware.

"My daughter's words were ‘It's pretty intense,'" says parent, Brett Nelson.

Nelson says he was scared and concerned when he got the news of the lockdown on the Lee campus.

For other parents, news of the lockdown came through student text messages, nearly an hour earlier.

Now, in a time when nearly every student has a cell phone, many parents question why the school made them some of the last to know.

"We hate that these events occur, but, they do. And when the do, we just want to make sure that we follow the appropriate protocol," says Dr. Randy Reid, TISD Superintendent.

That's exactly what the district says it did.

Once the gun and ammunition were found, lockdown began: On the inside—keeping students in classrooms; on the outside—by creating an established perimeter around campus.

"If we try to take our focus off of the kids and off of the staff while the incident is occurring, we can miss our main mission in this. And so, that's the most important piece for us," said Reid

Coming in second, the district says is parent communication.

"It should serve as an incentive to make sure we get out clear communication as quickly as we can, but, I don't' think we'll ever be able to beat a child texting a family member, or a friend, as to what's going on," said TISD School Board President, Ron Vickery.

District policy prohibits students from using electronic communication devices without permission. But the district acknowledges their importance in emergency situations.

Officials say the reason not all parents got the lockdown message falls on their "Alert-Now" system. Messages assigned different priority levels may have kept some numbers from being called, creating confusion for some, and relief for those it reached.

Nelson says, "I still put my trust in the school officials. Their first concern ought to be the safety of the students and teachers."

TISD School Board has asked school administrators to create a timeline of steps taken during the lockdown to ensure all policies were handled effectively.

KLTV is told that a minute-by-minute breakdown will be reviewed in the coming weeks.

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