District's 'intruder alert' activated at PHS

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The intruder alert at Perryville High School was activated at 10:52 a.m. Thursday, April 15, after an unknown person accessed student areas of the building.

Students and staff followed district safety protocols by securing themselves in classrooms and offices. Local law enforcement arrived quickly and conducted a search for the intruder. Within 12 minutes, that individual was located and identified as a contractor who failed to follow visitor protocol to check in at the school office.

"We're very proud of our staff and students who overcame their confusion and worry to quickly implement safety protocols," said District 32 Superintendent Andy Comstock in a press release. "We all are incredibly grateful for the quick and professional response of our school resource officer, local law enforcement and emergency services.

“As a community who cares for children, it’s comforting in moments like these to realize that our kids are surrounded by people who will do whatever is necessary to keep them safe.”

Assistant Superintendent Jeanie White, who leads the district safety team, said that the incident is a learning opportunity for the district family.

“Conversations are already happening with our students and staff about what we’ve just experienced,” she said. “Counselors are speaking with students who are experiencing anxiety, and teachers are making the rest of the day as normal as possible.

“Administratively, we will work with our visitors and contractors to ensure that they understand the reasons for our protocols, and we will meet with our staff and emergency responders to debrief about today’s incident.”

Superintendent Comstock encourages parents to discuss today’s alert with their children. “It’s important that they be allowed to express any fears or worries, especially our youngest students,” he said. “Parents can ease that anxiety by reminding children to think of the helpers they met today – police, teachers and other students who did the right thing.”

Parents whose children continue to express anxiety about the day’s events after you’ve talked with them, are also invited to reach out to their school counselors at 573-547-7500. 

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