Silver lining in false gunman alarm that locked down Collegiate school

Posted at 5:59 PM, Nov 01, 2013

HENRICO, Va. (WTVR)--A technician working on some wiring accidentally triggered the Collegiate School’s direct threat alert on Thursday night, according to school officials.

The alarm alerted people to a possible active intruder on campus and instructed them to stay inside.

Lee Viverette’s 13-year-old son, a student at Collegiate who was home ready to hand out Halloween candy,  heard the alarm and took action.

“My son heard it... he did a good job locking the doors, and he actually got his bow and arrow out,” said Viverette.

The Head of the School, Keith Evans, said the school bought the alarm system two years ago from IPcelerate and has never used it outside of a drill.

“The blessing in it is that it was like a real live action drill,” said Evans.

Everyone on campus can activate the alert by typing in a code at certain locations at the school. The code triggers a message over campus loudspeakers.

“We had to have some way to communicate with people all over campus and the only way we could think to do that would be with a speaker system,” said Evans. “It gives us a lot of eyes on campus and allows us to respond a lot more."

The alarm messages are specific to the situation. For example, if a building is on fire, the message directs people to go outside, but, if a shooter is on campus the message tells people to stay inside.

“It's important that they get more than just a siren or something because they wouldn't know what to do,” said Evans.

Administrators at the Collegiate School met with law enforcement on Friday to talk about the alert.  Evans said police gave the school an A+ for execution.