NEWARK, Ohio — The Licking Valley Local School District is looking at how it can improve its emergency response plans after a fake active shooting call forced schools in the district to lockdown last week.
As soon as word spread about a possible active shooter at Licking Valley, parents rushed to the school to see their kids. With only one road between the elementary, middle and high schools, traffic soon backed up. Some parents parked on the side of the road nearly a mile away, walking to their kids' school.
Although the shooting was a hoax, the district's superintendent said the emotions people felt that day were very real.
“It's impossible to tell parents not to come. We'd like it to be in an orderly manner. Part of that is the beauty of our community. They want to be there, they want to see their children. I can't tell them no,” Scott Beery said.
Beery said the district is working with local law enforcement on improving its response when it comes to traffic in the area.
“They might not even be able to get the ambulances in, and then how do they get the ambulances out? I understand what parents are thinking, I think the same way,” said Gary Sigrist, the founder of Safeguard Risk Solutions.
Safeguard Risk Solutions is a company that helps schools and business plan for events like Friday’s. Sigrist said with the deadly school shooting in Uvalde so fresh in the minds of parents, it's understandable why so many rushed to the schools.
“The officers in our communities are prepared and trained and we have leadership who understand what they need to do,” Sigrist said.
Beery said the students did exactly as they had practiced, and moved to safety until law enforcement swept the buildings and gave the all clear.
“They did what they were trained to do. It breaks my heart that they have to be trained, but they did exactly as we would want them to do,” Beery said.
Both the district and the Fairfield County Sheriff's Office will have a debrief on the incident. The two groups will then come together to see if there are any changes the two need to make to their plans.