Parents upset, confused when school calls real lockdown a 'drill'

Published: Feb. 11, 2016 at 3:34 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 11, 2016 at 11:27 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Bartlett High School went on lockdown after a report of a weapon on campus, but school leaders told everyone the lockdown was just a drill.

Bartlett City School said the school was on a "precautionary lockdown drill."

They used that term to communicate with students, parents, and police.

The problem: this was not a drill in the normal sense of the word. Webster's dictionary describes a drill as a process of training or teaching by continued repetition of an exercise.

What happened at Bartlett High School on Thursday was not an exercise. School leaders were told there was a weapon on campus. They went into lockdown to keep the students safe.

The only thing that is confusing is that it was called a drill.

Students texted their parents and took to social media afraid and confused about being huddled under chairs for more than half an hour.

"My child was texting me," Audrey Lindo said. "She said 'It's a drill.' So why are yall under chairs and tables for so long, if it's just a drill?!"

Bartlett Police Department even appeared confused for a while. Media contacts inside the police department repeatedly said the school was doing a drill and there was no threat to students.

Three hours later, BPD changed its tune. The department posted on Facebook saying one child had been arrested. The child was not a Bartlett student, the child does not live in Bartlett, and the child was not arrested in Bartlett city limits.

As far as the term "precautionary lockdown drill," Bartlett City Schools spokesperson LeeAnn Knight said that is the term the school uses whether the threat is real or not.

"We don't make all of the steps of what we do to preserve the safety of our campus public, but we followed our normal procedures," Knight said.

When asked if she could understand how using the term drill could be confusing for everyone involved, Knight said the school will reevaluate the situation and look to see if there are any ways the district can clarify communication.

As for the boy BPD arrested, the department would not say if he was at Bartlett High School today or if he has any connections to the school at all.

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