Mom concerned after teacher allegedly dismisses students during school lockdown

Posted at 10:01 PM, Oct 10, 2014
and last updated 2014-10-10 23:27:16-04

RICHMOND- J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College said it is handling a personnel matter after the mother of a student expressed concerns about the way her daughter’s teacher handled a school lock down Thursday.

Lisa Smook said she received a text message from her daughter on Thursday morning about a school lock down because of a possible gunman on campus.

“This is one of the worst things you can see in a text message…we didn't know if this was going to be like previous incidents, like Blacksburg” Smook said.

Police said there was not actually a gunman at the school, instead, a man walked in and made threats, but he did not have a gun.

Still, the situation left Smook feeling very unsettled because of the way she said it was handled by her daughter’s teacher.

“She said he laughed about it, said it was a joke, and they were dismissed,” Smook said.

Smook said her daughter told her she wandered around the halls with classmates until another teacher pulled them into her classroom.

“I'm really grateful for that teacher,” Smook said.

The school declined an on camera interview, but in a statement called the matter a personnel issue being handled by the school.

Melvin Jones, a retired head of campus security at Virginia State University, said teachers need to always take such alerts very seriously.

“These things should never be taken lightly because you are in your classroom, you don't know what has happened outside,” Jones said.

“They needed to know they have holes in their system,” Smook said.

Here is the full statement from J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College:

“The safety of our students, faculty and staff is the number one priority of Reynolds Community College.  This commitment is demonstrated through frequent drills and simulations as well as thorough training that Reynolds Police conducts both within the college and with local, state and federal law enforcement partners. Reynolds Police is accredited by the Virginia Law Enforcement Professional Standards Commission (VLEPSC) and the response to yesterday’s incident at the Downtown Campus reflects this accreditation and the exemplary interagency cooperation between Reynolds and local law enforcement partners. We are aware of the situation regarding one of the college’s employees. This matter has been determined to be a personnel issue and as is being handled as such by the college.”