East Providence High School was locked down earlier today, Dec. 18, after a report that a student saw another student carrying a gun. That report proved to be false.
“She notified school officials right away,” said Lt. Raymond Blinn of the East Providence Police Department. "She did the right thing."
The school was immediately locked down and an investigation into what she thought she saw was launched.
“Based on the nature of the suspicious incident, the school was placed in a lockdown,” said Blinn, “This was quickly and effectively done by school officials and, within minutes, the students were secure and officers were inside the school. “
A subsequent investigation did show video footage consistent with what the student had originally reported, Blinn said in a statement. But a further investigation determined that there was no threat.
“She thought she saw a gun,” he said. “It was not a weapon.”
Many concerned parents called and tried to respond to the school, Blinn said. They were directed to wait across the street at the Shaw's Plaza where East Providence police personnel had set up a staging area.
“It is important for parents to understand that in a lockdown situation, such as the one that occurred today, that the lockdown is done to protect their children from harm,” Blinn said.
The East Providence Police Department, in cooperation with the East Providence School Department, are in the process of reviewing and updating school safety and security procedures, Blinn said.
“Citizens should take comfort in the fact that this lockdown was extremely effective,” he said. “The rapid action taken by school officials, students, and law enforcement was critical and effective.”
The incident at the high school, of course, comes only days after the tragic shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn.
Cranston Police also conducted a weapons search during a lockdown at Cranston High School East on Monday morning, Dec. 17, after one student reportedly heard two others make mention of a gun. No weapon was found there either.