Schools placed on lock down: parents were never notified - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Schools placed on lock down: parents claim they were never notified

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HAMILTON COUNTY, TN (WRCB) -

Tuesday afternoon Hamilton County High School is placed on lock down after shots were fired near campus.

"Everybody is real scared and just trying to protect people close to us," student Tony Ledford says. 

Nearby schools begin to get word of the shooting and also lock down but parents won't know anything happened for hours.

"No one was notified," says one parent.

School officials say the suspect fired one round from Career Lane, just off campus from Hamilton County High School and only a few hundred feet away from elementary students at Snow Hill.

"I thought we had a good system but now I'm seeing maybe its time for a change," says Kaye Turner.

Turner's grandson is a fifth grader at Snow Hill. She's appalled neither she nor her daughter were notified of the shooting just outside school grounds, they found out through Facebook.

"If I had known that I would've been up there to get Jared in a heartbeat," Turner says.

However, that's exactly why school leaders say its important to wait. Snow Hill Elementary Principal Sandra Barnwell admits it was hard getting all the facts as the incident was unfolding. Their first priority, secure the school and make sure students are safe.

"We will contact parents after the lock down is over," Hamilton County Schools Assistant Superintendent Dr. Lee McDade says.

McDade says each school has a safety policy, one that is constantly reviewed and revised. Principals can send mass messages to parents who are in the computer system. Barnwell says she sent an alert around 5:45 p.m., hours after classes ended and far too late for concerned parents.

"Reassure the parents because you don't want to get that phone call," says Turner.  

"I do understand the parents' point but what we're doing is looking at the safety of faculty, staff and most of all the students," says McDade.

For more information about ConnectED, the mass communication program click here; or call your school to see if your principal participates in the program.

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