Schools Changing Emergency Procedure


By the end of the school day Monday, students and staff at Payson High and Rim Country Middle schools were still wondering why their classrooms had been locked down for 10 minutes shortly after school began.

"They went home without knowing the facts," said Payson Unified School District Superintendent Herb Weissenfels.

Teachers locked themselves and their students inside classrooms when a student was spotted in the high school parking lot with a shotgun.

The incident was resolved safely, but the school's tight-lipped information policy left students and parents in the dark. Complaints from parents prompted some changes in the district's emergency-management procedures.

Weissenfels said he will send out letters to school administrators insisting they provide reports to students and staff regarding major incidents, such as the one that happened Monday.

Weissenfels said students and staff are the district's first concern regarding such reports, but he said he also would provide information to the media so the public has knowledge of any major incidents at the schools.

"The administrators try to be very cautious to not create a panic situation," he said.

"I deeply respect where they're coming from, but I would rather get accurate information out than deal with inaccurate rumors that might develop otherwise."

As it turned out, Monday's crisis was no real threat to anyone. The student, Daniel Gillespie, 19, was apprehended without incident.

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