August 3, Lockdown Update

Good Afternoon,

This year we have implemented several additional safety measures including; our renovated middle school with enhanced safety features, and through the addition of a full-time school resource officer (Chase Koger). We’ve also provided all employees with training on the School Guard app. This is an app that greatly reduces the response time for school-related emergencies. It has proven so effective, that the county commissioners graciously paid the first year of fees for every school corporation in Henry County. After a thorough investigation, the New Castle Police have concluded that on Wednesday, the app was accidentally activated by a child of an employee while in their residence. We met with the employee and she is extremely regretful. Appropriate administrative steps have been taken to address this issue.  When the sirens went off throughout the city in response to the initial call, a second 911 call came in from a citizen. At that time, all schools were placed in lockdown as a precaution. Police have investigated both calls. We apologize for the late dismissal Wednesday and for the stress this placed on families. Please know that we’ve incorporated additional measures to help prevent a false app activation. These measures include conversations with the app owner. One of the unique aspects of the School Guard App is that the call goes directly to all emergency personnel in the vicinity. Therefore, we had responders from the Indiana State Police and the Henry County Sheriff Dept as well as our own New Castle Police. We greatly appreciate the swift response, as police officers were in each building in approximately one minute of receiving the call. If you have suggestions on how we can make our schools even safer, please contact your child’s principal or speak with Mr. McDaniel or myself.

Sincerely,

Matthew S. Shoemaker PhD

Superintendent