New Albany school officials apologize for false alert

New Albany school officials apologize for false alert
Students line the steps of the front entrance of New Albany High School after a false alarm was issued for a possible gun threat, which sent students and staff into a brief lockdown. (Source: Josh Hicks/News and Tribune)

By APRILE RICKERT
News and Tribune

NEW ALBANY (NEWS AND TRIBUNE) — A false alarm in the alert system at New Albany High School sent students and staff into a brief lockdown, New Albany Police report.

Chief Todd Bailey said the department responded around 10:45 today after the internal alarm was activated. Staff have a system to activate the alarm, which is broadcast over the PA. In this case, a worker accidentally set off the alarm.

Bailey said that when police responded, they searched the school and interviewed students, investigating rumors of a shooter.

"In this case there was no gun and no incident," he said. "When you have situations like this unfortunately, those stories kind of blossom from nothing."

The New Albany Floyd County Consolidated School System has sent out a message to parents, explaining the false alarm.

"It's a situation that we regret that it was mistakenly called," said the message. "On the good side of it, I guess is we know our kids and staff behaved appropriately. Police came to the scene and did their job."

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Confusion was prevalent at least within parts of the school when the alarm was activated.

Gabriela Pelfrey, Maya Jackson and Kaylie Tucker all were in the cafeteria.

"Everybody started running to the cafeteria in the back, and I was scared, bro, because everybody was crying and stuff," Jackson said.

A teacher told the students to "get down," while some students ran outside. A cafeteria worker was saying there was a shooting, according to the students.

Kaylie Tucker's mother, Kristie, called the school office to ask what was happening and got another conflicting report that there was a fake gun.

"I was terrified," she said. "Luckily, I was right down the street. And I'm just to the point I'm about to home school. They won't do anything to protect these children from the other students, and I'm over it. You know? I'm absolutely over it."

David Young, whose daughter also attends New Albany High School, said he received the school's message at 11:19 a.m., but saw another parent post about the alarm around 10:47 a.m.. Young called that time difference "disturbing."

Young was at the school to pick up his daughter. Some students are leaving for the day with their parents.

Aprile Rickert is the crime and courts reporter at the News and Tribune. Contact her via email at aprile.rickert@newsandtribune.com or by phone at 812-206-2115. Follow her on Twitter: @Aperoll27.