Early this morning, Midlothian High School went on lockdown and shortly thereafter, fear and rumors were running wild. For many parents and local residents the news arrived via a post on Facebook:
As many saw this notification, they didn’t have any other information as to the cause of the lockdown, etc. Parents began posting questions, texting their children, and misinformation was unintentionally spread.
At 10:33 am, MISD shared this update on their FB page:
Recognizing parents were concerned and even panicking as time drug on with little information, MISD continued posting updates.
Thirty three minutes later, MISD posted again:
News of a SWAT team entering the school wasn’t calming parents fears as parents and the community waited for more updates. While some took comfort in hearing about the scope of the response, others became more unnerved by hearing multiple agencies including Homeland Security were on campus.
Students at Midlothian High School had been on lock down at approximately three hours at this point. Parents were receiving updates from their children or family member that they were confined to their classrooms without lunch or bathroom breaks.
Another MISD FB update was posted around 2 pm:
With concerned parents anxiously wanting to get their children from school, the lockdown continued until a little after 2:30 pm.
By then parents still had more questions than answers, and some students were posting about their experiences on social media outlets. While others wondered if they should purchase bulletproof backpacks for their kids. And Midlothian wasn’t the only school coping with threats today, Grapevine-Colleyville ISD had a lockout at more than one campus due to threats at multiple schools.
A couple of hours later, MISD announced they’d be having a FB live at 4:45 pm with Assistant Superintendent Karen Fitzgerald, Commander Tim Hicks, and Director of Guidance and Counseling Becky Wiginton giving an update and offering guidance on how to discuss today’s events with students.
At 6:38 pm this evening the following email from MISD Superintendent Lane Ledbetter arrived in our inbox:
Dear MISD Parents:
As your child’s educational partner, we believe in being open, honest and communicative. Today we faced a situation at Midlothian High School, and I believe it’s important to share with all of our MISD parents the sequence of events.
At 9:30 a.m., two Midlothian High School students shared with the high school campus administration about a possible threat. In MISD, we take all threats seriously and MHS immediately put the campus in lockdown. We always encourage our students if they see or hear something to say something. These two students did just that – reported what they thought they saw and heard.
Because the two students were detailed in their report and out of an abundance of caution, the Midlothian Police Department believed it was in the best interest to begin a SWAT-like investigation that included sweeping the building by searching classrooms and backpacks.
After a long and thorough investigation, the Midlothian Police Department deemed the threat was unsubstantiated. Throughout the day, several rumors on social media stated the Midlothian Police Department found guns and made several arrests. All of these statements are rumors.
On behalf of the entire Midlothian ISD, I want to thank our Midlothian Police Department for their swift action to serve and protect. We are incredibly grateful for our strong partnership between our police department and schools.
I would also like to take a moment to recognize the Midlothian High School teachers, staff and students for their leadership and maturity in how they managed today’s situation. The entire MHS family should be commended for their efforts in keeping our students safe and secure.
While your child’s campus may not have been impacted by these events, in MISD we are all family and I wanted to share this news with you. If you have any additional questions, please feel free to email me at [email protected]
There were a lot of posts today on social media about the lockdown throughout the day and some have continues this evening. We wanted to share one student’s account that she posted in Midlothian Talk on Facebook this evening. We’re sharing it because we feel like it gives a good first hand account of the stress this student experienced today. Below is a screenshot of the post with the name & photo blacked out because the student is a minor.
Also on Friday evening the Midlothian Police Department posted this statement to NextDoor:
We highlighted part of the sentence, as this was a topic of discussion on social media Friday night. Many are debating and speculating as to whether there was or was not a firearm on campus, and this sentence fueled more debate.
The big question, well, there are many questions. Is this the new normal: lockdowns and lockouts? Was today’s response the routine response to incidents like these or do they have information they aren’t sharing that warranted this type of response? How do we handle the mental stress this creates on our educators, children and first responders?
If you have first hand experience of today’s events at Midlothian High School or you feel our information is inaccurate please contact us. We’re covering this to keep our readers and community informed. A thank you to the staff at Midlothian High School and the first responders for keeping students safe during today’s lockdown.