Monday, January 27, 2020
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Gun in a Naperville school, manhunt in Plainfield

Police say a student brought a gun into a high school in Naperville, Illinois, this afternoon, and in unrelated incidents, nearby schools were placed on lockdown, the Naperville Sun reports.


USN Cmdr. Dan Shanower graduated from Naperville Central H.S. (Ron Cogswell / Flickr CC)

Principal Bill Wiesbrook notified the Naperville Central High School community using District 203’s Talk203 alert system that a student had brought an unloaded handgun into the school. He said a teacher noticed the student acting suspiciously and reported it to a dean, who reported it to a school resource officer. The officer discovered the handgun in the student’s possession.

Naperville police and school officials quickly determined that “the school was safe,” Mr Wiesbrook wrote in the alert message, “and instruction continued as normal.

“We continue to be grateful for our partnership with the Naperville Police Department and our School Resource Officers to ensure the safety of our students,” he added. “NCHS is filled with students and staff who care about one another, and we will always keep the welfare of our school community as a top priority.”

Nearby, officials at Plainfield North High School in District 202 placed the school on soft lockdown as police there looked for a man who was possibly armed.

Students were released intermittently during the afternoon, and police had called off the manhunt after assuming the suspect was no longer in the area, according to a department post on Facebook.

What is a ‘hard’ or ‘soft’ lockdown?

A school is considered to be in a “soft” lockdown when all the classroom doors and exterior building doors are locked. Visitors are asked to state who they are and the nature of their business when they are buzzed into a building. They should not be upset when people don’t hold doors open for them or show them the same courtesies once extended.

In a “hard” lockdown, non-employees are prohibited from entering a district building, whether it is a school or district office, until whatever incident that warranted the hard lockdown is resolved. Oftentimes, the hard lockdown won’t be lifted until the local police department gives the district the “all-clear.” Police often ask the district to hold off on informing parents regarding the process for dismissal until they feel the situation is under control.

Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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