MCPS Schools On Lock-In After Robberies

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Hundreds of students at Missoula County Public Schools were placed into a "lock in" after the district learned a suspect was at large in the community.

Fear and excitement took over students at Paxson Elementary School when schools around Missoula were put on lock-in after Thursday's armed robberies.

"We have snack time, and I was going into back pack to get my snack, and my teacher came out grabbed me and said come on in, come on in, come on in," said fourth-grader Lars Thorne-Thompsen.

Liv and Lars Thorne-Thompsen said before long, things went back to normal around the school.

"I was scared at first, but the after a long time, we went back to working," Liv said.

According to Hatton Littman with Missoula County Public Schools this is exactly what is supposed to happen in a lock-in situation, as compared to a lock down.

"In a lock down, students are locked in their classrooms, when all the lights are turned off, in an extreme emergency situation," Littmans said.

All of the school's doors were locked until 1 p.m., with administrators manning the doors to approve who came in and out of the building. Police cars circled the building as parents picked up their children.

"Given that there was individuals armed and dangerous around the community, we needed to put schools in a situation where the doors were locked, and students remained safe," Littman said.

Littman said in these types of emergency situations, police officers tell the school district what's happening, and from there, the district will decide what steps to take.

"The decision was made on Thursday to put schools in lock in, based on fact suspect was at large around community," Littman said.

Many parents say despite the initial scare, they feel good knowing they're kids are safe at school.

"In the time I've stood here, I've seen two officers drive by, and I like that," Paxson parent, Larkin Kavanaugh said.

MCPS also used its Emergency Operation Center Thursday, to look over the situation and decide when to go in and out of lock in.

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