UPDATE: Incident at AHS places school in two-hour lockdown

Published 2:28 pm Wednesday, March 15, 2023

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Initial report indicated a possible gun on the premises


Austin law enforcement have responded to what is being described as a “security concern” at Austin High School resulting from an incident that took place early this afternoon.

A statement released early in the incident by Superintendent Dr. Joey Page to parents alerted them to the lockdown.

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Dear Parent or Guardian, 

Austin High School is currently in Lockdown due to a security concern.

The safety and security of your child is our top priority. We are actively responding to the situation and collaborating with emergency responders.

At this time, we ask that parents stay where they are and remain available to receive updates and instructions as needed.

Both the Austin Police Department and Mower County Sheriff’s Office responded with vehicles parked around the perimeter and near the main doors on the east side of the school.

According to a statement by Austin Police Chief David McKichan, the incident began at around noon when Austin High School’s school resource officer requested additional help at the school due to a report of a firearm that had possibly been brandished at the school.

Our staff, along with the Mower County Sheriff’s Office, worked collaboratively with the school to investigate the matter,” McKichan said in the statement. “During our on-site investigation, the school did enact their standard response protocol.”

McKichan went on to say the case continues to be under investigation and as of Wednesday afternoon there was no indication that there was a firearm present. The school was cleared at around 2 p.m., two hours later.

“The safety of students and staff at the Austin High School is our highest priority,” McKichan said. “We appreciated the patience of those folks, as well as parents, as we sought to determine the validity of the report. We do use all our available staff, will call in additional Officers, and request assistance from the Sheriff’s Department in order to ensure that we are both being thorough but also respectful of the time that staff and students are in a lockdown.”

In a second statement later in the afternoon, Page said the school has since returned to normal operations.

Resources will be available to respond to students, staff, and parents/caregivers as needed,” Page said, adding that: “Here at Austin Public Schools, our priority is the safety and well-being of our students, their families, and our staff. Each of our schools has established a safety plan and lockdown procedures that contribute to maintaining a safe learning environment for our students. In the wake of this incident and as part of our practice, school personnel will review those plans and continue our ongoing relationship with law enforcement to ensure we do everything we can to maintain the safety and security of our schools.”