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Kirkwood lockdown prompted by TV station “testing” security

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KIRKWOOD, MO (KTVI) –  Kirkwood High School instituted a full-fledged lockdown Thursday afternoon when a man they could not identify left the school office and walked into the hallway without permission.

The safety precaution disrupted sixth and seventh hour classes forcing teachers to lock classroom doors and turn off lights.  Kirkwood police responded.  Parents were notified there was no 'imminent danger.'

It turns out the suspected intruder works for St. Louis television station KSDK-TV.  He was conducting an investigation into school security according to a statement from the station.

The Channel 5 staff member left his name and cell phone number with an office assistant after asking to speak to a security staff member.  "No one notified this was maybe a test," Kirkwood Supt. Tom Williams said.  When the staff member failed to answer his cell phone, and three calls to the Channel 5 newsroom went unanswered, the lockdown was ordered.

Williams said the district will err on the side of safety, but he admitted the lockdown created a 'lot of dysfunction.'

Kirkwood High School junior Madison McMullin said she was nervous but not as nervous as during previous lockdowns.  "They said no imminent threat so no one panicked too much.  A lot of the parents panicked more than the students did," she said.

KSDK released this statement about school safety on Thursday afternoon, "NewsChannel 5 recognizes the importance of safety in our schools. As part of a continuing investigation this afternoon, we visited five local schools.

One of our employees assigned to this investigative report visited Kirkwood High School. He entered and walked his way toward the office, asking a teacher for directions after a few minutes. There, he asked if he might discuss the school's security. He identified himself by name and gave the office his phone number.

When the security official could not be reached, our employee left the premises without escort.

Approximately an hour later – after our visit – the high school was put on lock down. This lock down certainly was not the intent of our visit."

The station also visited elementary schools in the Frances Howell and Parkway school districts. Both districts confirm that the same news outlet visited the schools. This e-mail was sent to students at Becky-David Elementary, "Today our school’s security procedures were tested by an anonymous member of the media.  Our secretary followed all procedures and pursued additional questioning with the visitor when she suspected something atypical was occurring.  The visitor at that point identified himself as a member of the media and immediately left the building.  The secretary notified me and we alerted district administration.  The Director of Facilities and Operations, who oversees safety and security, came to review security footage and debrief the situation to ensure the incident was not of a threatening nature.

We have safety and security procedures in place which we diligently follow to ensure everyone’s safety.  Thanks for your continued cooperation in following those procedures when you visit Becky-David Elementary."


    • Elizabeth

      You are mistaken! Two members of my family were in that lockdown, one teacher and one student. Do you have any idea what goes through the mind of a parent or spouse to get an alert telling you that your family members might be in danger from an intruder? This was a stupid and irresponsible on the part of the KSDK “reporter” and I hope they are punished to the fullest extent of the law, just as would any other unauthorized intruder.

      • ByeByeToTheRite

        There you go, Elizabeth, swallowing the anti-media Kook-Aid, blame it on the media. Kirkwood High School was REVEALED ON CAMERA to be so inept and incompetent – THAT is what is scary. Seems all these overpaid, lifetime pension on the taxpayer dime people have NO CLUE how to handle an intruder. So Elizabeth, if this scared you, IT SHOULD because Kirkwood High School COMPLETELY BLEW IT. An intruder could have – DID – walk unescorted through the buildling, with the blessing of office administrators. If I were you, I’d be demanding that heads roll at Kirkwood High – but instead, you don’t want to solve the problem and instead “blame the media” for exposing what losers run most our school districts.

        Awfully well paid losers, though. Proving high pay doesn’t get good quality!

    • Helen Lewis

      KSDK has no right to be walking into our schools to test security!! They are only suppose to report the news not make up the news. They have forgotten the first rule of true journalism ” Report only the news”. I will never watch KSDK again.

  • Marco Polo

    The mystery man in question was a reporter from KDSK testing security at various area school districts. How irresponsible could you possibly be? KMOV is already including this in their reports and it was known during the day by administrators at another school district who notified their employees / staff.
    What a bunch

  • Cindy

    The real story should be…..While a news 5 reporter is creating panic Hazelwood East is on a real lock down from early morning until late afternoon. Why is this not public?

  • Buddy

    I agree with Cindy! This is basically the same thing as yelling “FIRE!!” in a crowded theatre. It is against the law for a reason, and it affected the lives of many. Charge him!

  • ByeByeToTheRite

    Is it all the sheep of the extremist right, always blaming the media, who frequent this site making it look like most people are down on KSDK for “causing” this? Must be, because SENSIBLE people seem to be posting on OTHER sites what the REAL problem was here.

    This guy WALKED INTO the school unescorted, was directed to the office by administrators, who sounded no alarm or failed to escort him, the office personnel looked like they hadn’t a clue what planet they were on and sent him back out to the hall unescorted, so all he did was walk in, walk around, and walk out with NO resistance, and it’s somehoe HIS fault? Wow, you right-wing sheep are dimmer than I thought!

    Kids lives were risked by this complete incompetence and ineptitude on the part of school administrators, who, for the most part, have over-market salaries and fabulous lifetime benefits on the taxpayer dime, yet this is the best they can do? You folks should be demanding heads roll at Kirkwood High, instead you blame the messenger. How out-of-touch does one have to be to think that way? Wow.

    • banj

      Why is this about right or left? Why use this to create political divisions when it has nothing to do with that? I am sure Kirkwood welcomes learning about the holes in security because their number one goal is safety. It’s how the investigation was conducted. It is irresponsible to not reveal whether the journalist was from KSDK. Three calls were made to verify such. During that time, real emergencies could have happened and thank goodness they didn’t.

      Would it be okay to call with a bomb threat to see how it is handled and then not reveal it was a test?

  • Eric Manley

    This is HORRIBLE behavior on the part of KSDK-5. They should be charged (criminal trespass) & fined for this.

  • lil ol lady

    BYE BYE TO THE (LEFT)! First, you should seek a GOOD phycologist for your INSECURITIES. After you finish that, try to think of how THE schools(most) treat everyone of us as if we are criminals when we go to pick our children up( in an emergency or unannounced). And YOUR SAVIOUR reporter will be UNTOUCHABLE by the law, when anyone else would STILL be sitting in jail!

    • ByeByeToTheRite

      Insecurities? Wow, those of the far-right are like a textbook of insecurities: hate blacks, hate gays, everything is caused by poor people on welfare who won’t work, can’t tolerate others having abortions or drinking or smoking pot, have hangups about needing to be armed to the teeth – you right-wingers are textbook examples of insecurities!

      But your comment reveals part of the problem: Yeah, school officials Do treat everyone as criminals – EXCEPT the criminals!! That’s becaue they’re TOO LAME and INCOMPETENT to actually stop the real bad buy – treating parents picking up kids as criminals is easy – so EASY overpaid school administrators can do it!

      Bottom line here is, this could have been a criminal, and had it been, he would have been undetected and could have roamed the halls for HALF AN HOUR. That’s just unacceptable ineptitude for people getting a lifetime welfare handout of pensions and benefits on the taxpayer dime. Just in case you haven’t noticed, MOST people today don’t get that – seems only the incompetents do. That’s not insecurity, that’s just harsh reality. And Kirkwood High’s administrators didn’t earn a DIME of their pay in this incident. Kudos to KSDK for exposing their weakness for SMART people to see.

      • Josephine

        Gosh guys – this is not a political issue at all. My daughter is a junior there, and I can tell you that the administration performed exactly as they should have. The facts have been misrepresented in some of the media. The KSDK guy was never “left alone.” The secretary watched him when he went down the hall to the restroom and then IMMEDIATELY called security when he walked past the restroom and disappeared. They called the guys cell phone right away and then called KSDK. The cops were there in less than 5 minutes. My daughter says the kids were scared by the sound of the cops on the roof – unsure about whether it was gunfire. You may not realize that KHS has a sprawling campus made up of many buildings that are mostly one story with large windows. They cannot keep each one of the buildings locked because the kids go from building to building for each class. Many high schools in St. Louis and around the country are built like this. Kirkwood has “walking counsellors” in each building who go question any stranger in the school plus a police office there all the time. The school has a very tight security team that includes having the police respond in about 2 minutes. The real problem was that when Kirkwood called KSDK, they wouldn’t tell them if the guy worked for them or not. That was unethical in the extreme. Meanwhile KSDK had all their cameras set up outside to film the crisis that they were creating. Not to mention, now everyone knows that it is impossible to lock the doors at my daughter’s school. As a mother of a student there at the school yesterday, I am proud of how the administration of Kirkwood High School performed and distressed by the irresponsible behavior of KSDK. Politics played no role in this.

  • Don

    The lowest of the lows, this is a viewership killer. Sensationalism journalism has got to stop. KSDK has lost my viewership as well…

  • Eric Manley


    Your view that KSDK did a good thing by exposing a security risk is completely off-base. Yes, Kirkwood needs to make some improvements, no question about that. What you do not understand is what it takes to protect a campus that size, in a reasonable manner.

    This media-stunt was simply an attempt by the LIB-TARD media to generate news to improve their ratings. Yes sweeps week is next week. surprise, surprise. KDSK IS THE LOSER BECAUSE THEY CANNOT REPORT IT WELL ENOUGH!!! There is NO-DIFFERENCE between what KSDK did and Snowden has done. They need to suffer the consequences. Do you have a real name or are you just another LIB-TARD coward hiding behind an alias?

  • ajmacdonaldjr

    Lockdowns are a bad idea, and many schools are beginning to rethink them. Google: Rethinking School Lockdowns

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