Teacher, class kept out of school during lockdown in Asbury Park; officials want policies changed

A school district may be forced to change lockdown procedures after a teacher and her students were refused entry to their school while a gunman

A school district may be forced to change lockdown procedures after a teacher and her students were refused entry to their school while a gunman was running around the neighborhood.

A school district may be forced to change lockdown procedures after a teacher and her students were refused entry to their school while a gunman was running around the neighborhood. (12/20/13)

ASBURY PARK - A school district may be forced to change its lockdown procedures after a teacher and her students were refused entry to their school while a gunman was running around the neighborhood.

Police responded to a call of shots fired from a car just after 12 p.m. Wednesday, along Summerfield and Prospect avenues.

At the same time in the same area, a physical education teacher was walking sixth-graders from the middle school to the Obama Elementary School, but they couldn't get in because the school was on lockdown.

A school resource officer arrived and it was assumed he'd be able to get them inside, but he could not.

The teacher got on her phone and called inside the school, asking them to let the students in, but was told that no one gets in or out during a lockdown. That left the teacher and students stuck outside with a reported gunman on the loose.

John Napolotani, a representative for the teachers’ union praises the actions of the school resource officer. "The officer is a hero for standing out there and shielding those students," he said in a statement. "The system and lockdown protocols need to be reviewed so student safety isn't at risk."

After waiting between five and eight minutes, the students were allowed back inside when Director of Security Lou Jordan came down and vouched for the officer.

School Superintendent Robert Mahon says he plans to meet with police. "This situation pointed out a definite flaw in our plan," Mahon says. "It's necessary for us to take a look at that plan and make some modification to it."

Mahon says until the plan is changed, teachers caught in that situation need another safe spot, such as a church or firehouse, to escape to when there's a crisis.

The school district's lockdown policy is directly taken from state guidelines. The superintendent says this was a situation they had not planned for.
 

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