In East Oakland, parents at Horace Mann Elementary School are upset after the district failed to immediately notify them of a lockdown Tuesday. Students were held in classrooms for up to six hours as police swarmed the area in order to arrest armed suspects in a string of home-invasion robberies.

Ernest Carroll’s daughter was in her second day of kindergarten when the school went into lockdown. He says the district never called to tell him what was going on, and he later heard about it from a friend.

“And I didn’t find out about it till about 12:30, 1 o’clock,” Carroll said. “So a lot of parents weren’t notified, so when everybody did get here, it was like chaos.”

Some parents heard about it on the news, others — like Marina Rivera — from the sounds helicopters hovering overhead.

“We had to come to the school to find out, and that’s sad,” Rivera said. “We seen helicopters going around and going around and we just started walking.”

District spokesman Troy Flint says a robo-call went out to parents at one pm — several hours after the lockdown went into effect just after 10 a.m. But he says some parents never got the call because contact information was outdated or not yet entered into the system.

Horace Mann Elementary was the third school to go into lockdown in the first two days of the school year. On Monday, Castlemont High School and East Oakland PRIDE Elementary School were in lockdown for hours as police pursued armed suspects in a carjacking nearby.
Flint says lockdowns are not uncommon, with an average of about three per week.

Flint says the district will review its lockdown policy, update parent contact information, and counsel schools to send robo-calls earlier.

Listen to his response:

School district spokesman Troy Flint on lockdown policy

Six-Hour School Lockdown in East Oakland Riles Parents 31 August,2011Caitlin Esch

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