PARENTS WERE NOTIFIED
The superintendent described Monday's incident involving the discovery of the airsoft pistol as "a very unfortunate incident, but I feel Mrs. Yeager and her staff handled the situation very professionally."
That included sending notification of the incident to parents of Cedar Heights students, he said.
"A brief description was sent out to all parents, of Cedar Heights kids, through our AlertNow message system," he said.
The following is the message that was delivered by phone via AlertNow:
"This is Sharon Yeager, Principal of CH Elem. I need to make you aware of a situation that occurred at school today. A student brought a BB gun to school in his backpack. The student and the BB gun were removed from the classroom. Our school resource officer was contacted; the student and the weapon were removed from the building. At no time were our students at risk or threatened. The safety of our students and staff will always be our utmost priority. The District and I are working together and taking appropriate actions to deal with this matter."
Merchant said the notification was made "to alleviate any kind of fear because sometime things get rolling out on the rumor mill, so parents were contacted reassuring them that at no time were their children in danger."
The superintendent said the district implemented the AlertNow rapid notification service "at the first of last year," making this the second school year that the district has utilized the service.
He explained that "when a student's enrolled, the parents are automatically entered into the system."
When The News spoke with Merchant around noon on Tuesday, he said he had not received any concerned calls from parents in the district regarding Monday's incident.
"That's a big part of why we use the AlertNow system, it's a great communication tool for a situation like this," he said.
In addition, he said the alert system is also useful when notifying parents of "everyday things," like sending out reminders for parent-teacher conferences or spreading the word about school closures due to inclement weather.
"And if there is ever an emergency situation where we had to do a lockdown, we could get a hold of parents very quickly and notify them of the situation. It's just a great communication tool," Merchant said.