School Officials: Rumor Control Most Difficult During Lockdowns

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Two days after eight schools in the Olentangy Local Schools district were placed under lockdown, administrators on Thursday explained the events that led to their decision.

School officials said that fast, accurate information was key to responding appropriately.

"They were in pursuit, but they weren't sure where they were," said Mark Raiff, the district's executive director of academics. "At that point in time, the decision was simple - the entire west side is going into lockdown."

Raiff told CrimeTracker 10's Jeff Hogan that the district decided to lock down all schools on the district's west side, west of state Route 315.

Raiff said that the next step in the lockdown was to control information flow, Hogan reported.

"In any situation, rumor control is probably the most difficult thing to manage," Raiff said.

With the shooting at Chardon High School in northeast Ohio still on the minds of many people, the lockdown situation was a chance for pause and discussion, Raiff said.

"It is an opportunity to talk to our kids about how we treat each other," Raiff said. "It is an opportunity to talk to our staffs about our safety procedures, make reminders and those kinds of things."

Officials said that they believed the district handled the lockdowns flawlessly, Hogan reported.

A level one lockdown means outside doors and windows are locked and parents are notified with a phone call. A level two lockdown requires everyone to stay inside classrooms or offices, and a level three lockdown requires the lights to be turned off and all normal school activities to stop, Hogan reported.
 
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