Welcome to the Examiner's recap from the news this morning (Tues) that King James's School in Almondbury was put into 'lockdown'.
The high school on St Helen's Gate reportedly had pupils locked in classrooms this morning. A message sent to parents explained there was no need for concern but that the school had locked rooms as a safety precaution following an undisclosed incident.
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Here’s a summary of the events today at King James’ School:
- Parents of pupils at King James’ School received a text message at 10.17am today claiming the school was on lockdown due to an incident, and that pupils were safe. Parents were also advised not to contact the school.
- Reports came in that the incident was due to claims of a gun on site.
- Parents rushed to the school to find out more, and were told by staff to leave the premises.
- Pupils were kept locked in classrooms for an hour as police arrived on site to deal with the incident.
- A WYP spokesperson then confirmed that they were called to the school after an air rifle was discharged and pellets hit and broke a school office window. They added that no one had been hurt.
- Parents were advised by police officers to leave the premises and the lockdown was lifted shortly after 11am. Pupils were allowed out on a break with lessons continuing as normal.
- Police have not confirmed whether any arrests have been made following the incident.
Full story on King James' School
Parents have told how children cowered under desks and classrooms were plunged into darkness after someone armed with what police believe to be an air weapon fired at offices.
Read the latest story on King James’ School here.
Head teach speaks to the Examiner
Principal Ian Rimmer has told us that the school’s lack of immediate communication with parents was to avoid causing concern.
Here’s what he said:
“We understand that parents were concerned. The school was entirely locked down but they were not able to gain access.It’s a fine line between causing concern and providing reassurance that the situation was being dealt with and their children were safe.No children were affected or hurt.”
Parents express their thoughts on this morning's events
Parents have been telling us their reactions after seeing news break of the school being in lockdown.
Ashley Davies, from Waterloo, whose 13-year-old son is a pupil, said he had received no official notification.
“When I arrived the road was mayhem. There were 40 or 50 parents outside. They were all quite anxious. They were all talking about taking their children home.“I heard two rumours: that someone had a gun and someone had a knife.”
The mother of one 11-year-old boy decided to take her child home for the remainder of the day. She said:
“My little boy rang me and said he was really scared. His group was in the gym. There were three rings [on the alarm].They were told to sit down and be silent. There are a lot of children in there that are crying.”
The father of a 15-year-old girl said:
“We got a text saying the school was in lockdown and not to try to contact the school. We thought it was a drill. Then my daughter started texting. She said there was a teacher wearing a stab vest and carrying a weapon. She said was under the desk in the darkness.”
Woman living in Texas expresses her shock
A Huddersfield woman who now lives in the States says she was shocked to hear reports of an air rifle being fired at the school.
Lucy Woodhead, who lives in The Woodlands, Texas, wrote on our Facebook page.
“How horrendous and shocking for all involved, especially a rural area like this. I live in Texas now where lockdown drills are frequent, but I’m sure in a ‘real’ event I too would be in shock. I’m sure this incident will be used to learn a lot of lessons moving forward. Going through something as real as this can provide a valuable insight in handling a situation much more so than a drill.
“If shots had been fired, parents turning up at the school could also be putting themselves in danger, and adding to complications the police would’ve faced in hunting down the ‘shooter’ who could’ve been hiding in the vicinity.
“The school would unlikely be able to handle calls from every worried parent, in a fast changing situation.
“Could more frequent informative texts have minimised hysteria? Should the initial text have been sent as soon as it was? Should areas in the vicinity have also been put in lockdown by the police?”
Pictures from the scene
Some pictures taken from outside the school on St Helen’s Gate.
Officers have been reassuring parents that all pupils are safe.
Parents told to "go home"
Here are police officers talking to parents who have understandably been worried about their kids.
Parents have been advised that everything is under control and to carry on with their day.
WATCH: Recap from the scene
Here is a summary of what’s been happening from reporter Tony Earnshaw, who has been at the scene.
Mum says "they still haven't found who did it"
Here’s the latest from one mum who has a daughter at the school.
I don’t think she realises the severity of it all, I’m still a little worried though because they haven’t found who did it and the children are now all outside.
What we know so far
Here’s a summary of everything we know so far.
Parents are still outside the school concerned about what has happened.
Live from the scene
WATCH: At the scene at King James'
Pupils are no longer in lockdown and have been put out for break.
You can watch live video on our Facebook page.
Head teacher talking to Examiner reporter
Our reporter Tony Earnshaw is currently at the school and speaking with Principal Ian Rimmer.
School says an air rifle was used to shoot at the building
Here’s the email sent from the school explaining what has happened...
Mum says school has recently upped security
A mum, who did not want to be named, said her 15 year old daughter had messaged her on Facebook to say the school was on lockdown and she was hiding under a table.
“I sent her a message asking if if was a drill. She didn’t reply and texted my partner a message saying ‘we’re under tables’.
“She hasn’t got her internet turned on now. I asked her to find out what’s happening but that’s all I heard from her. My partner’s daughter is there too.
“I’d like to know what’s going on. School have said not to contact them but at the end of the day our children are there.”
The mum said the school had upped security over the summer with new cameras and door locks.
"Shots fired" at school from pellet gun - police
Here’s a comment from police, who have shed a little light for you on the incident. They say shots were fired at the school from a pellet gun, but that pupils are safe.
The West Yorkshire Police spokesperson said:
Police were called to reports of criminal damage at a school on St Helen’s Gate at around 9.50am this morning.
A window was damaged in the incident, with initial reports suggesting the damage had been caused by a pellet gun.
Officers are at the scene while initial stage enquiries are being carried out and are liaising with the school. There are no reports of further incidents.
Picture taken from inside the school
One parent has told us their son has been hiding under a desk and sent us this photo taken from inside of police cars.
Parents have "no idea what's happening"
We’ve been speaking to one parent at the school who says many parents have been turning up within minutes of the message being sent.
Understandably, parents are concerned and don’t know exactly what is happening.
A police car was seen outside the school.
Parents have been asked not to contact the school.
Here’s what the father of two pupils at the school told us:
“I was just in Morrisons when I get a text saying not to worry. Obviously as soon as you see that your immediate reaction is to worry.
“Apparently all the pupils are safe and hiding under desks. I headed straight to the school and saw loads of other parents stood outside. They said a member of staff had told them to leave.
“I have two kids at the school aged 13 and 14 and everyone is very worried because no-one knows what’s happening.”
Message sent to pupils' parents
This is the text message sent to parents: