KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT)--A student stabbed with a comb at Vine Middle School is at home recovering from minor injuries. While the incident was a minor one, it caused major concern for parents, in light of Friday's massacre in Newtown, Connecticut.
Police swarmed the area around Vine Middle blocking off roads, but it took Vine's principal about two hours to tell parents what was going on.In spite of parents worries, school officials told me they are happy with they way they handled everything. They said they'd rather be correct than fast when it comes to giving out information.
The scene Wednesday at Vine Middle School was scary for parents. Police cars everywhere and the school was on lockdown. Police closed the roads and frantic parents were thinking the worst. Yolanda Upton said, "Police officers are not letting us in. Vine isn't answering the phone. Nobody is telling us nothing and I need to know what's going on."
Knox County Schools sent out an email and phone message at 3:30 about 2 hours after the stabbing. By that time officers had left the scene and school was out. Knox County Executive Director for Secondary Education Dr. Clifford Davis said, "Once the principal felt like she had enough information, accurate information, to give the parents then she placed the school messenger phone call."
School Messenger notifies anyone connected to the school about problems anything from a late bus to a shooting. Sixty thousand people got Wednesday's message, but some of those people are asking why did it take the principal so long. Dr. Davis said, "Those situations are fluid. It varies from situation to situation. It's up to the principal to make that call."
He said the first priority was to make sure students involved were taken care of and that other students were safe. Parents wonder what would happen in a real crisis like a mass shooting. Dr. Davis said, "How would you react in that situation. Would it be 2 hours? Again situations like that are fluid and the administration has to make that call."
For parents like Yolanda, that's frightening. Yolanda said, "I'm very upset. It's scary. I don't know what's going on I'm trying to get in here to my child."
Dr. Davis said there won't be any policy changes regarding the time frame for notifications. As for the school messaging system, administrators said if you're not getting the alert messages you need to call the school and update your information.