A Richmond middle school was placed under lockdown for half an hour Wednesday morning, after a parent and student reported seeing a suspicious man who appeared to have a weapon near the school.
School officials placed Albert Hill Middle School on a code red lockdown from 10:50 a.m. to 11:20 a.m. Wednesday, according to school officials. A code red restricts movement within the building.
Richmond Police did question a man nearby the school, however they found no weapon and no arrest was made. They also conducted a perimeter search and found no visible threat, school officials said.
The school system activated a phone notification and sent out an email to parents letting them know of the issue. It also notified Richmond Police and increased their own onsite safety and security personnel.
Some parents rushed to the school taking their children home after hearing of the possible threat.
A notice went out to parents, but some people like Melissa Delworth say she was not contacted.
"I learned it on the television, breaking news that they had a lockdown here and I'm upset because I didn't get a phone call," she said.
Other parents had to see for themselves that the situation was under control.
"Just reassure myself that everything was okay if there was a big crowd out here then I would have suspected it was a little more serious then what was indicated," says Robert Baughn, another parent.
There are cameras posted outside of the school and members of the school staff say they were extra vigilant watching who came in and out of the building during the lockdown
Richmond Police say officers did question a man and found out he was not armed and not a threat.
Parents we spoke to say while it was a false alarm, they appreciate the extra precautionary measures since this incident comes after the deadly school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.
"I think everybody is a little more alert," says Baughn.
Police say the man who was questioned but not arrested was found about three blocks from the school. An RPS spokesperson says parents need to double check with their child's school that contact information is kept up to date.
Here's the complete text of the letter sent to parents.
Greetings Albert Hill Parents and Guardians:
Please be aware that we recently received information from a student who observed a suspicious male who appeared to be in possession of a weapon near the school building. In response to this information, we have initiated the following swift and appropriate action,
- Implemented a code red restricting movement within the building
- Increased our onsite safety and security personnel
- Informed the Richmond Police Department for additional surveillance in the area
Additionally, we are monitoring all exterior cameras that provide entrance into the building. We will continue to be extra vigilant as the safety of our students and staff is our top priority.
Please contact the school at 780-6107 should you have any additional questions or concerns.
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