Responding to questions from ELi, East Lansing Police Captain Chad Pride said by email this afternoon that the first ELPD learned of this morning’s lockdown at East Lansing High School was from a concerned parent calling 911.
ELPD then called the high school and found out it was, in fact, in lockdown.
According to a statement released by ELPS Superintendent Dori Leyko this afternoon, “At approximately 9:45 a.m., East Lansing High School administrators received a report from three students who had seen a screenshot of a post in a group chat warning the group that there may be a student with a firearm on campus. Almost simultaneously, administrators were alerted via email and radio communication that an exterior door was propped open. High school administrators immediately put the building in Shelter-in-Place status, which locks all exterior doors, requires that all classroom doors be locked, and restricts movement in the building while allowing teachers to continue instruction.”
According to ELPD Captain Pride, it was at 10:10 a.m. that “the first call came into the Ingham County 911 dispatch center,” and it came “from a concerned parent about a lockdown at the high school.”
Pride tells ELi, “We had no knowledge that this was a possible weapons incident. No dispatch information was sent to our officers.”
“After it was found out that the school was on lockdown, ELHS was contacted” at 10:15 a.m., Pride said, “and ELHS staff confirmed they were in lockdown, but no police response was needed.”
According to Pride, East Lansing Deputy Chief Connelly “received a message from the Superintendent shortly after [that] asking to have ELPD officers respond to the high school.”
Officers went to the building to assist with the investigation at that point.
According to Leyko’s statement, students remained sheltered in place for about 1 hour and 55 minutes.
“Updates were shared with staff and families twice during the Shelter-in-Place,” Leyko said, “with a third update sent to staff and read to students before they were released [to go to their next period class] at 11:40 a.m.”
Leyko said in her afternoon statement the follow-up investigation resulted in no weapon being found and that “administrators were able to trace the report back to information that was overheard in the hallway and misinterpreted. The door prop notification was found to be unrelated through the viewing of video footage.”
ELi has contacted Leyko to ask why police were not called immediately for an incident the high school principal referred to as a “lockdown” in written communications to staff. We have not yet received a response.
This is a developing story and may be updated.
Update, Jan. 30, 10:50 am: Superintendent Leyko got back to us on our question about why police were not immediately called. This is her response:
“High school administrators called the Shelter-in-Place immediately after receiving the initial report – to keep students in their classes and eliminate traffic in the halls. They gathered additional information from the reporters, and initial reports did not indicate that anyone had actually seen a weapon. They pursued additional information while keeping students in the classrooms. As I returned from the middle school, I engaged in text conversation with two ELPD leaders, and once I arrived to the high school office and got briefed, I asked ELPD to send someone in case we needed support. The report was unsubstantiated and was based on misinterpreted overheard comments.”