POMONA — The West Franklin School district put the Pomona campus on lockdown Tuesday after hearing possible gun shots.
The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office investigated and found no evidence of gun shots, sheriff Jeff Richards said.
“A staff member at the school was outside and heard what they believed was gun shots,” Richards said. “They went on lockdown and we responded. We ending up making contact at the residence where they believed that the gun shots possibly came from. They were working on an ATV. We believe it was backfire is what they heard. Once we advised the school, they went back to normal business. I would rather them error on the side of caution then not respond to something and something bad happens.”
Jerry Turner, West Franklin superintendent, said the education world is pretty cautious when it comes to these situations.
“If we suspect there is something unsafe, we lock it down until we get it investigated,” Turner said. “That is what we did [Tuesday]. We were informed of something that was not perceived being safe. We said ‘wait a minute, let’s stop and lock it down and get it checked out.’”
Turner said the deputies were quick to respond.
“They checked it out for us and told us ‘no’ and we were OK,” Turner said. “We were locked down probably about 30 minutes. They had it checked out pretty good. They told me we were safe to go. Once they clear me, we unlock and go back to business as usual. My question is is it safe. That is all I needed to hear.”
Turner said in these situations, it is a joint decision between himself and the building principal to lockdown the school.
“We don’t take chances,” he said. “All schools do it.”
Turner said the students were prepared for the lockdown.
“It is not a new situation for kids to be in a lockdown,” Turner said. “Our kids handle it well because our kids have been practicing. They are well-versed in it. We will do it nine times this year. It is a sad situation.”