Tuesday afternoon action taken ‘out of an abundance of caution’
By Morgan Rothborne, Ashland.news
Ashland High School went into lockdown Tuesday afternoon over what initially appeared to be a potential threat but is now considered to be a hoax or prank.
“Out of an abundance of caution, we went into secure (status) for about a half an hour yesterday,” said Ashland School District Superintendent Samuel Bogdanove.
Tuesday from 2:10 to 2:40 p.m. the school went into “secure” status, according to a release on the city of Ashland’s website and an almost identical message sent to parents from the district superintendent’s office Tuesday afternoon and obtained by Ashland.news. Bogdanove confirmed the release on the city’s website was derived from the message sent to parents.
In the message, secure status is defined as a type of action taken by teachers and students. According to the safety page on the district’s website, secure is one of several possible actions — hold, secure, lockdown, evacuate and shelter — each with corresponding behaviors students and teachers are trained to do when the action is called for.
Secure status “uses the security of the physical facility to act as protection; during secure, all students and staff are brought into the building, and all the exterior doors are locked. Classes continue uninterrupted inside of the building,” the message said.
School districts in the area have seen an uptick in hoaxes and threats recently, Bogdanove said. On Sept. 15, an Ashland Police Department officer was posted at Ashland Middle School after a vague threat was posted on social media.
“Unfortunately, it’s really not uncommon after a holiday weekend to get threats. That individual might want to cause disruption or potentially just get out of class,” Bogdanove said.
The threat is now under investigation.
“We received a couple of emails with threats, probably from the same individual. We don’t really share the nature of those threats unless it’s directed at a specific individual because it’s still under investigation — there’s a digital trail we’re following — and we don’t want copycats out there,” he said.
The district is working with the Ashland Police Department in the investigation. Ashland police officers were on campus Tuesday and will be on campus Wednesday, he said.
Bogdanove responded to rumors on Facebook of chaotic stampedes of students running from the high school building or through it into classrooms.
“That’s not what I observed. Most kids were already in class,” he said.
He encouraged parents and students to sign up for the city of Ashland’s Everbridge alert system.
“Because we have an open campus, some students may not be on campus when we go into secure, they may not get that message. So I encourage everyone to sign up for Everbridge so we can get those messages out there,” he said.
You can start receiving emergency alerts for the local area by texting 97520 to 888777.
Email Ashland.news reporter Morgan Rothborne at email@example.com.