LA GRANGE, KY (WAVE) - With an inmate on the run, Oldham Co. Schools had a tough decision to make. Would their kids be safe going to school when an armed man who has a history of assault and burglary is possibly loose in the area?
Assistant Superintendent Rick McHargue says they discussed that option, but after talking with police decided putting everything on lockdown would keep everyone safe enough. By early afternoon Thursday, kids at La Grange Elementary were on the playground as if it was just another day at school. Luckily it turned out to be, but not until police picked up escaped inmate Chris Claxton just a mile and a half from their building. Before the kids even got to the school, their parents were notified about what was happening.
"I was awoken I thought it was a family emergency or something, but fortunately it was the emergency alert that a prisoner escaped, advising us to keep an eye on our children and not to let walk to the bus stop by themselves," says parent Steve Pottie. With that warning, Pottie was one of many parents who decided driving his kids to school would be safest. "Most parents transported their kids to school. Bus ridership was way down," says McHargue.
It's all part of Oldham County's Safe Schools procedure. Around 4 a.m. and after discussion with police, the school system decided it was the best way to handle the day. Turns out, the school's busses were just as close to Claxton as police. He was picked up on Button Lane, the same road that houses Oldham County's transportation facility. "They were in the vicinity and searching they knew about where the fella was. I was delighted with their swift response and particularly pleased with how they kept us informed all through the process," says McHargue.
Information that was then passed along to concerned parents like Pottie. "Kept receiving text alerts to know what was going on. The good news is no one was hurt and everything is back to normal."
The school system says there isn't much they would change about the way things went today. McHargue says he's been with the schools system 36 years and this is the first time he can remember someone considered as dangerous as Claxton causing a lockdown.