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  • Jim Townsend

Lockdown at Oakwood Elementary This Afternoon

This afternoon, Oakwood Elementary School went into a lockdown situation due to a concern at the school.

The first communication to parents was sent electronically at approximately 4:15 PM, notifying them that a lockdown had occurred and that student pick up and buses would be running late. It also stated that additional details would follow.

A follow up email sent to parents just after 6:00 PM said:

Dear Parents and Guardians,

As you know today we had a lockdown toward the end of the school day. Please understand that we can not share all of the details due to student confidentiality concerns, however we want to provide you with as much information as we can. Around 3:25pm today Oakwood was put into lockdown over a specific concern for one of our student’s involving their parent.

Our number one concern is student safety, therefore we immediately placed the building on lockdown which requires the teachers to secure the students and the classroom. The Portland Police Department responded quickly, and we worked through ensuring that the building was safe and secure. Once that was determined, we lifted the lockdown at 4:15pm and went into Secure Mode while we organized dismissal.

Many of your children will come home tonight with questions or concerns. Please assure them that the teachers, staff, and police practice these situations in order to keep them safe. Staff followed their training and executed proper procedures to ensure the safety of all those in the building. I am very proud of my staff and our students for the way that they handled today’s lockdown. If you have concerns for your child please let us know so that we can check in on them tomorrow.

Although we train for all types of situations, each one is unique. We appreciate the feedback that we have received from today. As a district we will debrief today’s events and make adjustments for the future, including how and when we communicate and organize dismissal.

Sincerely, Elizabeth Findlay, Principal

William Heath, Superintendent

A statement on the Portland Police Department Facebook page this evening said, “Oakwood Elementary was placed on lockdown today at 3:30pm when a potential safety concern was recognized involving the parent of one of the students. The lockdown was lifted at 4:15pm when that threat could not be verified. Portland Public Schools and the Portland Police Department take the safety of our students very seriously and will continue to take every precaution to make sure our kids remain as safe as possible.”

In a telephone conversation with Superintendent Will Heath, he explained to The Portland Beacon that district staff had become aware of a “concern for a specific student at Oakwood,” and that the school “had to go into lockdown to ensure that student’s safety, and the safety of all others.”

More specific informatuon on the incident could not be shared due to privacy concerns.

Heath went on to say that, “The district uses a vendor named Critical Incident Management (CIM) to help with safety training, procedures and drills. All have been updated this year, and we will debrief with CIM to ensure that if this happens again in the future it is a smooth as possible.” Heath added, “I can’t say enough about staff and students and how they handled today.”

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