Student, parents react to lockdown at Wilson Middle School

Published: May. 22, 2018 at 4:27 PM CDT
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National mass shootings targeting schools means many children and parents are scared. On Tuesday, Wilson Middle School in Cedar Rapids went into a full lockdown as students huddled in corners and teachers blocked doors.

It wasn't a drill, and it turned out to be nothing more than an unsubstantiated rumor according to a letter the school district sent to parents.

Some parents say they first heard about the shooting from text they got from their kids before the district sent out notices. Those parents went and picked up their kids.

Wilson Middle School 8th Shelby Hittie says she was nervous and confused during the lockdown. She explains, “Our teacher, he ends up saying ok get into the corner, this is not a drill, you need to get into a corner. So we all get into the corner. We are in that space for quite a bit, almost the whole period."

Hittie’s parents came and got her right when she texted her. Parent Rachel Peters did the same. She traveled from Iowa City to get her kids.

She explains, "They said on the telephone call that the student is no longer at the school, but is in parents’ custody, or parents are watching over them right now. I just still didn't feel safe leaving my kids here."

Peters says she looks at school threats a lot differently now. She says, "Parkland (Florida shooting) and just all those other ones, it makes me just really worried because it seems to be an option for kids nowadays."

The lockdown lasted about 20 minutes. Hittie says she’s scared to go back to class. She says, "This is our school, we're supposed to be safe here, we're supposed to want to be here, but now that this happened not many of us want to be here. Not many people even feel safe."

A spokesperson for the Cedar Rapids Police Department says they haven’t noticed a discernable difference in number of tips or threats they receive, but they say they take every threat seriously, and investigate it on its own merits, and proceed with appropriate intervention as needed.

We invited officials from the Cedar Rapids Community School District to discuss school safety and security in light of recent school shootings. In declining, a district worker says, “Because this is not a matter which impacts only our school district—or one which is necessarily of greater concern in our schools than others—we are not interested in an interview regarding this topic at this time.”