MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Parents of Kirby High School students have questions after the school was on lockdown for hours Thursday.
The Shelby County School District said a student let a suspect police were chasing into one of the buildings on campus, causing the lockdown.
It’s unclear if the suspect that was briefly in the school was armed or not.
At last check with police, he is still wanted.
It was a scary morning for parents as dozens congregated in front of the school, demanding answers.
“Ah, it’s extremely frustrating. I thought I was getting ready to have a heart attack,” said parent Zelda Leverson.
“To me, I have a right to be up here. I have a child, and I’m not getting no answers,” said another parent, Glenn Fossett.
“Only thing I want is my baby out of there,” added another mother.
It was several long hours for Kirby High School parents as they waited for word about their children.
“I haven’t heard from my daughter.”
Zelda Leverson was one of those parents.
She said she heard about the lockdown from a friend, but never from the school.
Leverson came to the school hoping to talk to someone. When she didn’t get answers from the administration, she started thinking the worst.
“I’m really, really frazzled,” she said.
Memphis Police said members of the Organized Crime Unit were investigating a complaint, a block from the school.
When they went to arrest a suspect, he ditched a backpack and ran toward the school.
“He ran in the building. School security chased him out of the building, but it was unsure if he made it back in the school, so the school went into lockdown,” explained Memphis Police Colonel Marcus Worthy.
Officers went room to room, checking classrooms and hallways.
Thursday afternoon Shelby County Schools said surveillance cameras captured a student letting the suspect in through a side door.
SCS said the suspect never made it into a classroom or contacted other students.
In a lockdown, it is protocol no one is allowed in or out of the school.
“When I got here I had more cars come so that I can get the parents away from the building and there wouldn’t be no way he could mingle with anybody,” explained Worthy.
Around 12:15 p.m. the all clear was given, and Leverson was finally able to pick up her freshman daughter Ramerria.
“Very relieved, very relieved,” she said.
Leverson was thankful everyone is safe but hopes next time she’s not left wondering about her daughter’s safety.
“It is a wake-up call especially when you find out the person was in the building.”
SCS released a statement this afternoon saying:
“Student safety is our top priority, and our lockdown procedures help ensure students are protected during safety and security situations on or around our campuses. Following a police search in the area of Kirby High this morning, the school was placed on lockdown after school security officers saw an unknown man outside the building. Security video from the school later revealed that a student opened a side door, allowing the person to enter the building. The individual did not enter any classrooms or come into contact with any other students or staff. All students were safe inside the building. All of our schools have strict procedures for allowing visitors on campus, and the staff at Kirby took time today to remind all students of the protocols for ensuring campus safety.”
They also said they would be calling parents to let them know what happened.