Classes continued today at Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton School after yesterday’s lockdown

KEYC News Now at 5 Recording
Published: Jan. 11, 2023 at 6:47 PM CST
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MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - “We haven’t had to deal with a lot of actual school lockdowns here. Matter of fact, this is the first one that I recall,” said Janesville Police Chief, David Ulmen.

“My youngest- she didn’t really understand what was happening. She just knew that she was scared. She did not want to go to school today,” said a concerned parent of a JWP student.

After a school lockdown on Tuesday, students returned to the Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton school on Wednesday following an announcement that all classes and after school activities would continue throughout the week.

Janesville police say there was no immediate, credible threat that the school would experience a shooting, which allowed the school district to resume its activities.

“Nobody was found in the hallways wandering around or anything else. There was no real threat determined to actually exist, said Ulmen.

According to police, on Tuesday, a number of students received messages via Airdrop saying “I have a gun,” or “school shooting,” accompanied with photos that students described to police as, quote, “weird.”

“It was just a weird photograph, but there was nothing to do with guns. There was nothing to do with violence. There was nothing to do with shootings. It was just simply were the person’s name would have been those two little statements, said Chief Ulmen.

Police say units arrived to the school around 1:38 p.m. while the school district had already been in a soft lockdown. At 2 p.m., the school went under a hard lockdown.

“Just hearing that things were delayed from that first report to when they actually locked on the school makes me nervous,” said a parent of a JWP student.

During the lockdown, police started an investigation and searched the school.

“We didn’t activate a full law enforcement response. Meaning, we didn’t go in with 15-20 cops with rifles doing a full search of the building as an active shooter situation because, again, there was no credible threat of any kind that we could identify,” said Chief Ulmen.

Later that afternoon, police say that the superintendent made the decision to clear the school under their own protocols: students with cars were allowed to leave the school, while younger students were taken by bus to Saint Ann’s Catholic Church.

Elementary parent Michael Mesa said he was out of town working during the lockdown, and when he got home, he listened to his six-year-old daughter recall her experience inside the classroom. “I talked to my daughter when I got home and she was, of course, panicked a little. She said that her teacher was real calm and just had everybody be quiet until they heard anything on what to do next,” said Mesa.

The lockdown was lifted at 4 p.m. and after-school activities resumed that evening while parents and students returned to the school that evening to pick up school supplies left behind.

“When I went back to the school to pick up my daughter’s backpack and stuff, I was hearing from other people how proud they were of the teachers and the police response. So, I was real happy to hear that,” said Mesa.