According to a Thursday morning announcement released by West County School District Superintendent Dr. Kevin Coffman, West County Elementary School on Wednesday thwarted a possible intruder in a “quick and appropriate manner.”
The letter, addressed to parents and guardians and posted on social media, explained that Elementary School Principal Laura Basler became aware of a man outside the building who was banging on the doors, trying to get into the school, and appeared to be under the influence.
Staff, teachers and administrators immediately followed protocol to make sure the students were safe. Part of protocol is to contact law enforcement immediately, and the elementary school went into lock-down mode.
“We had somebody just walk up to the school, and the staff handled it appropriately,” Coffman said.
“It [the elementary school] is a secure building anyway, and we went into lock-down and contacted law enforcement.”
According to Coffman, law enforcement for the city of Leadwood arrived quickly and the man was taken into custody.
“Safety is top priority for all school districts. However, no districts are immune from situations like these,” said Coffman. “As superintendent of our school district, I am extremely proud of how the staff, administration and students handled the situation.”
Coffman gave much credit to law enforcement for how quickly the situation was handled.
“I don’t want to put a number on how soon the situation was handled, but from notification to the man taken into custody, it was eight to nine minutes, max, which is really quick, in my opinion,” explained Coffman.
Once the man was removed and all areas of the campus were clear with no concerns, the school ended the lock-down procedure.
“Our district will continue to focus on improving safety for our students and staff,” added Coffman. “In addition, I would like to extend appreciation to the Leadwood Police Department and St. Francois County Sheriff’s Department for their quick response.”
“We will continue to do everything possible to maintain a safe, secure environment which allows your children to feel safe and where you feel comfortable sending your children to school each day.”
Macey Adams is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-518-3616 or firstname.lastname@example.org