CLEVES, Ohio – Lock down or evacuate? A school can’t do both at the same time. But officials at one Tri-State school had to choose Thursday morning.
When a bullet was discovered at Taylor High School, administrators handled it according to their training and went into lockdown.
Police and parents were called.
But when a fire alarm sounded a second emergency just moments later, school officials at the combined Three Rivers Educational Campus, housing Taylor and Three Rivers Elementary, had to improvise.
Suddenly, they were faced with two conflicting safety protocols: remain in lockdown because of a possible firearms threat or evacuate the building because of a fire threat.
“We did have knowledge of a bullet in the bathroom,” said head principal Tom Bailey. “We had that situation, we felt, under control.
“With the fire alarm, we weren’t exactly sure what was going on, so I had to make a decision about whether to evacuate or not.
“Which we did.”
High school students were evacuated into school buses to stay warm. Elementary students were taken to the nearby school board offices for shelter.
Parents were called again.
“I can say we never learned this in college,” Bailey said. “It’s not part of the course.”
Police searched the building and found no threat related to the bullet, and the fire alarm apparently came from a heat sensor in the cafeteria.