Police lockdown drill at Methuen school angers some
METHUEN, Mass. (WHDH) -- Fake weapons were used by police and a SWAT team during a drill that inspired real fear for some students the Timony Grammar School in Methuen.
It was only a drill when a police officer playing the role of a father ran into the school saying he had a gun. The interruption to the regular school day forced the Methuen District to see how ready it is to handle an emergency.
“The detective posing as an intruder started at the very other end of this hall. Came down here yelling looking for his son,” said Principal Timothy Miller, Timony Grammar School.
Methuen Police were stripped of their ammunition before running inside the building and a SWAT team was sent in with fake weapons.
Students were told over the announcement system that it was just a drill. But some parents say the school district needs to warn parents first.
“For instance, the other day we had a customer in here saying, ‘Did you know anything about a lockdown?’ and then I started to get panicked,” said Kristen Lombardi, a parent.
The Methuen District has been running lockdown drills once or twice a year since 2004. But more recently the school decided to stop telling parents when exactly those drills would happen.
“I weighed that back and forth and for many years we did warn the parents ahead of time and what we saw was parents would not send their children to school that day,” said Methuen Schools Superintendent Judy Scannell.
Still, if it's a matter of testing how safe students really are -- warning or not -- some parents say the drills are well worth it.
“Afterwards if they're taught about why they did it to prepare themselves than it might help if a real situation god forbid ever did happen,” another parent said.
Police say they bring the fake weapons along with the rest of the SWAT team gear into schools every year in order to help students get comfortable and prepare them for what an emergency drill might look like.