'It could be the matter of life and death..' Reported gun on campus at Woodrow Wilson Middle School prompts lockout

After receiving a tip, authorities responded to an apparent "gun on campus" Thursday morning at Woodrow Wilson Middle School.

Posted: Aug 8, 2019 3:31 PM
Updated: Aug 8, 2019 6:01 PM

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) -- This morning, school administrators at Woodrow Wilson Middle School received reports of a "gun on campus". Administrators placed the school under a "lockout" and "hold in place" at 8:55 A.M. 

Law enforcement, school protection officers, and school administrators did a search of the building and suspected locker. Upon opening the locker, they found an unloaded airsoft gun in a student's backpack. An airsoft gun is a plastic, pellet "BB" gun. 

Bill Riley, Vigo County School Corporation's Director of Communication, said at "lockout" is a less severe posture than a "lockdown". Under a "lockout". The school does not accept visitors from the outside. If there is a P.E. class or recess happening, students are brought inside into a classroom.

The "hold in place" that was called means there is no hallway traffic from staff or students. All students are brought into classrooms with the doors shut and locked. Inside the classroom, classes continue as normal until they are directed otherwise by school officials.

Riley said that both staff and students receive training on how to handle these situations along with the differences between terms such as "lockout" and "lockdown".

Before contacting the media, Riley sent a text alerting parents or guardians of Woodrow Wilson Middle School students of the situation via the school messenger. He says if you are a parent and did not receive this text message to contact the school immediately and update your contact information. 

Riley was very pleased with the school staff and law enforcement's response time and ability to act as quickly as they did. The entire situation was resolved in less than 30 minutes. 

The number one priority for school officials and local law enforcement is student safety. Ryan Adamson of Terre Haute Police Department advises parents to know where "real or fake guns" are in your home and to "keep them secured". "Students should know that this is not funny or a laughing matter," Adamson said, "This looks and feels like a real gun and is inappropriate to bring to school."

Riley and Adamson both agree that students, parents, and staff should speak up if something does not seem right. "The biggest thing for me is that there are school protection officers in our building," Riley said, "Kids know that if they see something that doesn't seem right, they can come to them to avoid situations like today."

"If you see something, say something," Adamson added, "It could be the matter of life and death."

After the situation was diffused, school and classes resumed as normal for the duration of the day at the middle school.

The student involved was arrested for disorderly conduct. Their name is not being released because they are a juvenile. 

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