Officials at two schools in Conway locked down their campuses after receiving notification of a possible dangerous situation nearby from the Conway Police Department on Thursday.
Sallie Cone Preschool and Central Baptist College were both alerted to a call CPD received about a man walking down the street who allegedly said he was going to “get into a shooting” but the witness said he didn’t see a gun.
CPD spokesman LaTresha Woodruff said officers searched the area near the Conway Adult Education Center, where the man was reportedly seen, but did not find anyone.
As a precaution, both schools went into lockdown mode, locking their doors to prevent people inside from leaving and those outside from entering into the building.
“We don’t believe there to be further cause for concern,” Woodruff said, adding the CPD suspended the search. “However, we should all be aware of our surroundings and cautious at all times.”
She said the person who reported the suspicious person said they couldn’t “say exactly what they heard other than something about ‘shooting.’”
“They also said the person making the statements was walking down the street with headphones on, and they did not see a gun,” Woodruff said.
The Log Cabin Democrat first heard of the lockdowns from a concerned community member who wished to remain anonymous.
She said her daughter attended CBC and called around 10:45 a.m. to tell her about the situation.
She said her daughter said not to be alarmed but the campus was on lockdown and students had been told there was a man in the area with a gun.
The concerned citizen said that she had heard Sallie Cone and St. Joseph Schools were also on lockdown.
“There was [a] suspicious person in the area is what we were told,” Conway School District Communication Specialist Heather Kendrick said.
She said when a situation like this occurs, the district’s first priority is the safety of the students. Once their safety needs are met, Kendrick said, school officials assess the occurrence and make sure it is controlled and then decide whether it warrants a notification to parents.
She said sometimes there’s not a need to notify parents through the alert system if the situation — she gave the example of a non-custodial parent attempting to pick up their child without authorization — isn’t of concern to parents.
During the lockdown Thursday, Kendrick said, parents were notified through the district’s phone application and through email and Sallie Cone also updated its Facebook page, though several parents said they didn’t receive the message.
“Shouldn’t a notification go out to the parents when the school goes on lock down?” Elizabeth Esau wrote on the preschool’s Facebook post. “Cautionary or not? If it’s not a drill?”
Esau continued and wrote that she has both the app and email but didn’t receive any message regarding the lockdown, though another user, Kasey Harris, said she received both a text and email.
“Sallie Cone Preschool Center what app are yall using cause i didnt get anything from the school either,” Whitley KentJr Martin-Meeks commented on the post.
Regarding St. Joseph School, officials told the LCD they had received a call from a parent and then called someone they knew at CPD who said there was no need to go on lockdown.