Hanover Parents Say They Weren’t Notified of School Lockdown

HANOVER (WRIC) – A Hanover County school was put on lockdown Friday and parents are wondering why they were never notified.

It was a scary start to the school day for students and staff at Cold Harbor Elementary after a threatening note was found and sheriff’s deputies quickly surrounded the school.

School officials say a note was sent out electronically to parents but some parents say they found out through social media.

Marie Hazelwood can’t understand why no one with Hanover County Schools contacted her and told her son’s elementary school was on lockdown.

She says she would have never known about it if it wasn’t for the boy’s father who just happened to be scrolling through social media.

“My son’s dad called me and had found out through Twitter,” she says. “The parents should be the first notified.”

School officials say a threatening note was discovered on a school bus around 7 a.m. Friday.

They won’t say exactly what it said but law enforcement moved in fast and surrounded cold harbor elementary. The building was put on lockdown as police and explosive detecting K-9’s searched the school. Investigators found nothing suspicious and the school was eventually opened.

But as this was all unfolding, Hazelwood says her first graders’ school bus still picked him up.

“To me the buses shouldn’t even have been running,” she says.

Hanover school officials say the buses were already in route and they believed it was safer to proceed with picking up the students.  And if needed, the students would have been transported to a safe alternate location.

“Why send kids into a school where you already know there is a threat there. To me you are just putting the children in danger.”

It’s still not clear why Hazelwood didn’t get that email. School officials are checking into it.

Meanwhile Hanover schools issued a statement:

“Regarding your additional questions, our buses were already on their routes.  It is safer to proceed in picking up children and completing the route than to leave children standing at bus stops.  We had no facts at that time that would have prompted us to alter the normal schedule.  The investigation was complete within 10 minutes of the buses arriving at the school and students were permitted to resume their normal schedule.

Our number one priority at all times is the well-being and safety of every student that attends Hanover County Public Schools.  We (the entire school division) take this responsibility very seriously.  We are proud of the collaboration between Hanover County Public Schools and the Hanover County Sheriff’s not only when unexpected events occur, but on a daily basis as both organizations place the highest priority on safety within our schools and throughout our community.  

You may also note that each school has an individual crisis plan.  Should an emergency occur, each school has specific plans that they follow to ensure the safety of their students and staff.  These plans include methods to safely transport students to a specified alternate location.   Each school also conducts various drills throughout the year to practice the specific steps included within the crisis manual.”

Copyright 2014 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond

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