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Parents upset about not getting notified of gun found on Bartlesville school campus

Posted at 4:58 PM, Feb 06, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-07 06:34:04-05

BARTLESVILLE -- Several parents are questioning a Bartlesville school’s safety protocol after they said they were never notified of a gun found on campus at Madison Middle school Monday afternoon. 

Some said they only found out by scrolling through social media the school was on lockdown. 

The incident is raising some red flags. 

“Without a doubt I feel like it’s a safety issue,” a parent said.

A gun was brought on campus by a 14-year-old student on Monday.

“It was an anonymous call and the call had came into the school,” Capt. Jay Hastings with the Bartlesville Police Department said. “The school had been notified and they notified law enforcement.”

The school went on exterior lockdown while the eighth grader responsible was taken into custody. Police said the suspect left the school with a backpack, and was caught walking down the road. Officials believe he hid the gun before police arrived. A small caliber handgun was eventually recovered an hour after the arrest by a K9 officer. It was found on the school’s softball field. 

The incident itself upset some parents, who worried about their children’s safety at school. But they said their fears were not just about the gun, but about the way the situation was handled by the school.

“I still haven’t gotten an email or text from the school alerting me on what occurred yesterday,” a parent said. “But I did receive them for school pictures at the elementary school.” 

This parent, who wished to remain anonymous, said he was furious to read the events happening at his daughter’s school on social media. 

“By reading that you don’t know what situation has occurred… if it’s chaos or what it is,” the parent said.

The alert was eventually posted to the districts Facebook page. The thread contained posts from some angry parents who said they had no idea a gun was found on school property.

“There are so many people that don’t have a Facebook account,” a parent said. “Or what happens if you weren't listening to the radio then you had no idea what occurred yesterday.”

The school, however, said it followed protocol when it comes to student safety.

“Our first concern was making sure our school was safe,” Kerry Ickleberry, Safe School Coordinator for Bartlesville Public Schools said. “By keeping all perimeter doors locked we were able to keep students safe. The threat was on the outside.”

Ickleberry said she understands parents concerns and is working to create a more efficient alert system. The school did however, send out notifications to parents later in the day. Some parents received notifications around 5 p.m.

“I am so sorry for the parents,” Ickleberry said. “I’m a parent myself, three girls through the school, and it is never soon enough no matter what we do, it is not soon enough.”

School officials said they waited for accurate information to surface before sending a notification to avoid panic. They said the last thing they wanted was to share misinformation. 

"We are going to figure out what can we do to make it better,” Ickleberry said.

Other parents applaud the school’s quick coordination with police, regardless of an alert, thankful no one was hurt. 

The student in custody is charged with bringing a weapon on school property. 

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