Missoula Area News

Feb 6, 2014 9:22 PM by Brenda Bassett - MTN News

Missoula schools lock-in lifted, defined

MISSOULA - Not only was UM locked down, but Missoula public and private schools in the area of the armed robberies locked their doors.

The Missoula Public School District had many of its schools on "lock-in" on Thursday because of the robberies.

MTN News talked to parents, students, and district officials about this unsettling situation.

As of 10 a.m. Thursday, many schools within the Missoula Public School district were in what's called "lock-in".

This included three high schools, one middle school, four elementary schools, and the administrative and business buildings.

"There was no threat to students immediately, but given that there was an individual who was armed and considered dangerous around the community we needed to put schools in a situation where the doors were locked and students were safe," Hatton Littman, Missoula County Public Schools Director of Communications, said.

Littman says the difference between a "lock-in" and a "lockdown" is that during a lock-in its business as usual. Students still go from class to class, but they aren't able to leave the building.

"The doors are locked. Administrators and teachers man those doors to make sure people can get in if they need to, but have to be approved," Littman said.

At Hellgate High School students said they felt safe, thanks to the staff and police officers watching the building.

"I feel like it was watched well because there were teachers at all the doors making sure students were safe where they were and I felt like we were well-watched," Heavin-Leapruitt, a Hellgate High School student, said.

However, one father says it's a scary scenario for any parent.

Parent Christopher Willis said, "Number one concern I think for most people is, 'Oh my God, my kids are over there in the school. They're in that area. It's the fear of somebody running through town with a gun that they might take advantage of a hostage situation."

St. Joseph Elementary and Loyola Sacred Heart High School were also affected under a "High Alert."

St. Joseph principal Rick Hyland told MTN News that all exterior doors were locked. He said students moved freely within the building.

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