FALSE LOCKDOWN ALARM DISRUPTS WHITE PLAINS HIGH SCHOOL THIS AFTERNOON

Lockdown False Alarm caused bumper to bumper traffic on North Street and onlookers and parents gathering to pick up their students. Photo by WPCNR

WPCNR SCHOOL DAYS. From the White Plains Department of Public Safety and the White Plains City School District. October 31, 2019:

The White Plains Department of Public Safety received an unscheduled lockdown notification from White Plains High School this afternoon. The Police Department responded in force pursuant to plan.

The Police Department is cleared the building. There is no indication as to why the lockdown notification was sent. There are no injuries at the school.

The Police Department is conducting an investigation to determine the cause of the lockdown notification. At this time it appears to be a computer error.  Due to the police activity surrounding the clearance of the lockdown, there was a delay in dismissal.

Once the lockdown was lifted buses transported students home on their usual routes, and parents were notified they could pick up their children at the Bryant Baptist Church parking lot.

Dr. Joseph Ricca, White Plains Superintendent of Schools released this statement’:

At approximately 1:55PM, the White Plains High School’s lockdown alarm system was triggered for unknown reasons and the building immediately implemented the lockdown protocol.  Police responded to the campus and quickly cleared the building. Further investigation revealed the lockdown alarm system was activated due to a system malfunction.  Occupants of the building were released from lockdown at 3:30 PM. An investigation into the cause of the malfunction is already underway.

The White Plains City School District (WPCSD) continually conducts drills of both lockdown and other protocols.  Our staff and students are well trained are to be commended for responding to the alarm in calm and proficient manner. We would also like to thank the White Plains Police Department for their prompt response and outstanding assistance in managing this incident. We are grateful to all.

We know how any unusual event in our schools can be a source of anxiety for parents and guardians. While the initial natural reaction in an unusual event may be to rush to your child’s school, parents are encouraged not to respond to the school and wait for specific instructions from the district.

This allows both our staff and emergency response partners to investigate and manage the incident promptly and effectively. Managing a large volume of parents arriving at the school only delays our ability to mitigate the incident and return to normal operations.  The district has detailed emergency plans for a wide-range of emergency situations, which are practiced on a regular basis. Thank you for your understanding.

As you know, the WPCSD takes the safety of all students and staff very seriously and recognizes the need to be timely and transparent regarding incidents that may impact our school community.  We will always act out of an abundance of caution to ensure all our students and staff are safe both inside and out of our buildings.

We apologize to our students, staff and parents for any unnecessary stress this alarm malfunction may have caused. We are committed to thoroughly investigating the cause of the malfunction to prevent a similar occurrence in the future.

Thank you for all your patience and understanding.

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