By Marcy Stamper
Liberty Bell High School was placed on lockdown for about 45 minutes on Monday (Jan. 9) because of a medical situation involving a student, according to Methow Valley School District Superintendent Tom Venable.
The incident occurred at about 12:15 p.m., during the lunch break, and school staff and principal Deborah DeKalb took immediate action by locking down the building to ensure the safety of students and staff, said Venable. There were no reports of threats directed at any students or staff, nor of a weapon, he said.
Aero Methow Rescue Service and deputies from the Okanogan County Sheriff’s Department responded to the incident. The lockdown was lifted at about 1 p.m. after the situation had been stabilized and the student was receiving appropriate care and was no longer in the building, said Venable.
“Lockdown can be initiated by any staff member whenever there is concern about a threat. We’d rather they err on the side of caution,” said Venable.
In order to protect the privacy of the student involved, no additional details were available.
Students have regular drills for lockdown, where they are taught to make themselves invisible so that they cannot be seen through doors or windows, said Venable. Part of the practice includes making sure students understand why the school uses lockdowns so that students remain calm, he said. Once a lockdown is lifted, students and teachers debrief about students’ role in staying safe.
The school was able to resume normal classes and activities in the afternoon.
The student’s family was notified immediately of the situation, said Venable. Other families were also notified via Facebook and SchoolMessenger, an automated system that makes phone calls and sends emails that have been prerecorded by Venable or another administrator. Through the SchoolMessenger program, the district reached more than 800 contacts in less than 20 minutes, said Venable.
People have to sign up to be notified by SchoolMessenger and should make sure the school district has their current contact information.