NEWARK, Ohio (WCMH) — Parents and students were reunited Friday afternoon after Licking Valley Schools went into a level three lockdown.
“We were just lined up against the wall sitting down and that went on for about 45 minutes,” said Kelebrant Hays, a senior at Licking Valley High School.
Hays said a level one lockdown means students and staff have to stay in the building, while level two means stay in the classroom and level three means there’s likely an active shooter. During level three, students are instructed to stay where they are and run if possible.
“I’m not sure I really processed it,” Hays said. “I was kind of scared because the only time previously there had been a level three lockdown, they announced it was a drill.”
Hays said they practice lockdown drills at least twice a year and, because of that, he and his classmates knew exactly what to do.
“I felt prepared,” Hays said. “An officer said they couldn’t hear us in there and it [Licking Valley High School] sounded like it was abandoned. So, it sounded like everyone knew what they were doing really well.”
Parents had to wait in line, fill out a form and show an ID before being able to pick up their students. The line wrapped around the high school and some parents had to wait at least one hour. Some parents said they were 20 minutes away, others an hour away. They said, when they heard the call, they made their way to the school immediately.
“I just wanted to make sure she was safe and that was going through my mind the whole trip here,” parent Andrew Waites said. “I didn’t care what happened to me, just to make sure I got to my daughter.”
“I told her to save her cell phone battery, don’t post anything, just communicate with me and her mother only, listen to the teachers,” parent Jeff Simpson said. “And it’s scary because it’s the feeling of helplessness.”
Parents said they’re happy with the way law enforcement handled the threat.
“My daughter goes to school here and a lot of other peoples do,” Simpson said. “And thank God for the peacemakers who came here at the drop of a hat and were ready to die so these kids could live.”
“We have a wonderful sheriff’s department around here and I knew they’d make the right call,” Waites said. “Plus, we have the sheriffs they stay in the school and they’re always on top of it.”