Wednesday threat briefly results in Burden ‘lockout’
By Mike Eddleman
Just before the final bell and release of students Wednesday at Bill Burden Elementary the school district was made aware of a threat against campus personnel.
The campus was immediately placed in lockout, which meant no one was allowed in our out of the building as law enforcement sorted out the situation.
“The original information we got was that a person had made a threat against the office staff,” said LHISD Superintendent Steve Snell. “That’s all the information we had and at the time yesterday nobody could locate the suspect. We took immediate action with police from the school district, the city and county were on campus providing security and looking for the suspect.”
Once it was determined there was no imminent threat students were released for the day.
“We were able to visit with parents in the car line,” Snell said. “We were able to visit with parents waiting on walkers and once we assessed the situation was safe enough to release kids we were able to proceed as normal with caution. We felt the response was great from all three law enforcement agencies.”
Later in the evening the district began to get more details about the situation that Snell said reduced the immediacy of the threat as they gained more clarification. The individual who allegedly made the threat did so to a private counselor.
“It alarmed the counselor enough that they reported the concern to us,” he said. “There was not enough for the County to press charges, but enough for us to take further action.”
Despite being made off campus and to a counselor, Snell said there was still reason to take the threat seriously.
“We have to, in today’s world, take every threat and every comment very seriously,” he said. “The safety of kids, the safety of our staff and even the safety of parents, is critical to us, so I think the message needs to be that anytime you make a comment – and we see it with students and we see it with the public – expressing a threat toward our staff or our kids we’re going to a ct immediately and we’re going to take steps to keep you from coming on our school property.”
While charges are not pending, there will be action taken by the district.
“We feel that the imminent threat is not there but we are not willing to take chances with this individual and we are taking steps, once the investigation is final, that the threat is no longer there,” Snell said.
The incident gave a glimpse of how the district police department will work in conjunction with other law enforcement agencies when a threat arises and Snell was pleased with the coordination and quick response.
“They called our police chief with the original information and he called us, and we were able – myself Mr. (Brad) Mansfield and the chief all came over – and we were able to call the city and county for assistance and we were able to unify and have boots on the ground while we brainstormed and handled communication.”