Malfunctioning alarm sends school into lockdown, what’s found locks down another

A malfunctioning alarm system led to a chain of events that put two Alexander County schools on...
A malfunctioning alarm system led to a chain of events that put two Alexander County schools on Lockdown on March 28, 2019. (Steve Ohnesorge | WBTV)
Updated: Mar. 28, 2019 at 6:25 PM EDT
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TAYLORSVILLE, NC (WBTV) - Police thought it was real. School officials and students did, too. When what is called a “Code Down” alarm sounded at Alexander Central High School, armed officers responded and people inside the school took cover.

“We were in a corner on the floor of the classroom,” said one student.

Chase Adams, who was in math class, says no one knew what was happening but it seemed real.

Turned out it was a malfunction in the alarm system. The alert can be set off from any classroom and other stations inside the school. It’s designed to be a quick alert system when there is trouble.

Even though it appeared to be a false alarm, until they could be sure, officers went through the school and searched for potential trouble. While doing that they came across a pocket knife and a bullet. The student who had them, according to Dr. Betsy Curry of Alexander Schools, said his brother had given them to him. That brother is a student at East Alexander Middle School.

Authorities said they had no choice but call for a lockdown of that school too, just to be safe, said Sheriff Chris Bowman. A search there turned up nothing.

Officials released everyone from lockdown by late morning. School safety officials say although this was a false alarm, it was a good test of what to do.

“It shows we can do what we need to to keep our schools safe,” said school spokesperson Alesha Cloer.

As it turns out, authorities had planned a drill for Thursday anyway. Schools were having early dismissal and a drill calling for the response of law enforcement across the county was scheduled for early afternoon. That was cancelled.

“We did enough practice for today,“ said Taylorsville Police Chief Dennis James.

Meanwhile, the student who had the knife and bullet will face disciplinary action according to school policy, said officials.

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