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Security threat simulated at Burley High School

By Kaitlin Loukides
Published On: Dec 24 2013 02:53:02 AM CST
Updated On: Aug 22 2013 11:30:06 AM CDT

On Wednesday morning, emergency first responders in Burley got a call that an indignant parent found her way into Burley High School and started threatening violence upon the staff. This was a drill.

BURLEY, Idaho -

First responders in Burley got a call that an indignant parent found her way into Burley High School and started threatening violence upon the staff Wednesday morning.

Within four minutes, emergency personnel arrived, including the Burley Fire Department, Idaho State Police, Cassia County Dispatch, and the Idaho Bureau of Homeland Security, among others.

However, this was all just a drill.

The Cassia County School District along with the Bureau of Homeland Security staged a simulation of a disaster occurring on campus.

This comes after recent incidents involving school shootings taking place in rural communities around the nation.

Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter and state Superintendent Tom Luna also flew into town to observe their methods when it comes to handling these situations.

"We learned some things folks do here that we can take all over the state," Otter said. "Then (we can) apply those same principles of safety and health of the citizens."

Both Luna and Otter say it is crucial for schools around the state to be prepared for anything.

"Many of us in Idaho realize these types of incidences are not just isolated to large cities or urban areas," Luna said. "If they can happen in a small, rural, Amish community in Pennsylvania, it could happen anywhere."

Homeland Security representatives said these first responders did an "excellent job" in how they handled the situation, starting with Burley High School Principal Carolyn Hondo attempting to talk-down the crazed woman.

They said the key to their success is the fact that every entity of first responders work so well together, they are able to refer to each other by their first names. This, they said, allows the process to run smoothly.

School district public information officer Debbie Critchfield said the district just launched a new, county-wide alert system which will send out a phone call to parents in the case of an actual emergency. This is called the "City Watch" alert system.

Hondo said although the school has never been through a situation to this scale before, she said she hopes they will never have to put their emergency response practice to work.

No students or teachers were present during the drill, as classes at the high school do not start until Sept. 3.

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