Soft lockdowns continue for schools near Chattanooga shooting lo - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Soft lockdowns continue for schools near Chattanooga shooting locations

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Schools that are near some of the recent shooting locations, or near Erlanger Hospital, where many of the shooting victims are taken, have been operating on a soft lockdown for several days now.
Which means students are told to stay inside.

"Soft lockdowns are not a new thing for our school because of our proximity to Erlanger, but it's usually for an hour," said CSAS Upper School Principal Jim Boles.

O n a warm spring day, the stadium at the Chattanooga School of Arts and Sciences is usually full of students eating lunch or having recess.
But because of recent violence in the city, the stadium sits empty.

"Business as usual, inside the building," Boles said, "Rec centers are closing, schools are in lockdown, it disrupts what's happening during the day."
This is the third day of a soft lockdown for these students. That means inside recess, inside lunch, and some changes in after school activities.

"We did reschedule a game, we moved some practices from different areas and that kind of thing," he said.

Several schools in the area feel it's not worth the risk to have students outside, even during broad daylight.

"When we hear sirens we cringe a little bit right now," Boles said.

CSAS is just blocks away from Erlanger Hospital, which was also on lockdown earlier this week, and has had its own disruptions due to the gang violence.
Principal Boles says many of his students are aware of the violence once they leave school.    

"A lot of them are living this and you know I've heard stories of kids sleeping on the floor and things like that just for that safety precautions, which is terribly sad," he said.

And if the younger students ask why they're on a soft lockdown, Lower School Principal Kelly Coffelt says she tells them the truth.

"My response to students is there's been a police situation outside of our school, not involving our school, and that we just want to keep everybody safe until the police have done their jobs," Coffelt said.

There are two ways a school can be on soft lockdown, the Hamilton County Central Office can make the decision for affected schools, or the school principal can make the call.
Principal Boles said these decisions have been made on a day to day basis.

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