Traverse City Record-Eagle


April 26, 2013

School officials initiate safety procedures at buildings

TRAVERSE CITY — A parent’s threatening behavior prompted Traverse City Area Public Schools officials to initiate safety procedures at two district buildings.

Trouble with the parent started Wednesday afternoon at Long Lake Elementary School and continued at the district’s administration building Thursday morning.

TCAPS Superintendent Stephen Cousins said a Long Lake student’s mother and father were at the school around 4:15 p.m. after student dismissal time and one parent became “very agitated,” used profanity and acted in a threatening manner toward school staff members.

The parent did not verbally threaten any staff members with violence, said Cousins, who would not comment on the impetus for the parent’s behavior, what was said during the incident, or the parents’ names.

“It was enough that the staff felt they needed to go into a buzz-in situation,” Cousins said.

The buzz-in situation, also known as “secure mode,” started after the parents left the building. The procedure involved locking all the outside doors of the school building. Teachers and employees could move around inside the building, but access from the outside required being buzzed in by a staff member.

The school did not go into a full lockdown, which requires individuals inside the building to remain locked inside rooms, away from doors and windows.

District officials lifted the secure mode after about 15 minutes when law enforcement arrived at the school.

A deputy later issued the parents a warning about returning to the building. No arrests were made.

“They were given a trespassing warning and that was the extent of it,” Grand Traverse sheriff’s Lt. Bryan Marrow said.

Marrow said he had not reviewed any reports from the incident and did not know the names of the individuals involved, or what transpired at the school.

Secure mode measures also were used Thursday morning at the TCAPS Boardman Avenue administration office after staff learned the parent was heading to the building.

Traverse City Police Capt. Brian Heffner said an officer was called to the building but left because all parties were calm and civil. The officer did not take a report.

District officials met with the parent Thursday.

“We’re really trying to work with him and we made some really good progress with the parent today,” Cousins said.

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