Student with folding shovel prompts school lockdown

Credit: Troy Colson

Parents wait in long lines to pick up their children after the lockdown ends at Meridian's Heritage Middle School on Thursday.

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by KTVB.COM

KTVB.COM

Posted on February 14, 2013 at 10:16 AM

Updated Monday, Nov 25 at 12:26 PM

Heritage Middle School

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MERIDIAN -- A student carrying a folding, military-style shovel prompted police action at Heritage Middle School Thursday.

The school was put into lockdown around 9 a.m. Thursday. That's when authorities received a report of an armed suspect in the school, located at 4990 North Meridian Road.

Meridian police weren't initially sure what type of weapon the suspect was carrying. However, Deputy Chief Tracy Basterrechea says officers eventually located the male teen, and determined the shovel was being used as a prop for a class.

After further investigation, police learned the shovel actually belonged to a teacher, who had asked an 8th grade student to grab it from their car. The teacher planned to use the it as part of a classroom discussion on WWII.

The student who brought in the shovel is not facing any criminal charges, neither is the teacher who the shovel belongs to.

The school was in lockdown for approximately two hours. Classes resumed after the lockdown, however, concerned parents were allowed to pick up their children.

They don't plan to charge the student with any crime.

The lockdown ended shortly before 11 a.m.

"All of our students are safe," Basterrechea said. "We had officers on scene within seconds."

SUSPICIOUS TEEN REPORTED

District spokesman Eric Exline said a student and a staff member saw a male teen walking down a school hallway with something suspicious and reported it to the school's resource officer.

"He was told by some of the staff that they saw an individual jogging out of the school, then back into the school with what they told him was an axe," Basterrechea said.

Basterrechea says it was at that point that the resource officer decided to call for a lockdown, police set up a perimeter, and law enforcement search teams began looking for the teen.

Officials also began screening security footage, and soon discerned that what was initially reported as an axe was actually a folding shovel.

Basterrechea says police recovered the shovel shortly afterward.

Officers and deputies with the Boise Police Department and the Ada County Sheriff's Department assisted in the search and perimeter control.

OTHER SCHOOLS TAKE PRECAUTIONS

Nearby Rocky Mountain High School, Paramount Elementary, Prospect Elementary, Sawtooth Middle School were put in "shelter in place" mode, which means students weren't allowed to leave those schools while police responded to Heritage Middle School.

Exline says those schools took the measure as a precaution.

PARENTS GIVEN INSTRUCTIONS

District officials say concerned parents are able to pick up their children at the school gymnasium if they choose to. Otherwise, classes will continue as scheduled.

Throughout the lockdown, officials with Meridian police asked parents to gather at the nearby LDS Church

Roads in the immediate vicinity of Heritage Middle School were closed throughout the incident. Traffic is expected to be backed-up for several hours.

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