Brief soft lockdown at Sycamore High School for isolated incident involving one student

Sycamore High School sign in Sycamore on Thursday, May 13, 2021.

SYCAMORE – Sycamore High School went into a brief soft lockdown Wednesday for what district officials said was an isolated incident involving one student that required response from a school resource officer.

Sycamore police were called to the high school around 1:30 p.m. The district implemented soft lockdown procedures for about a half hour. No injuries were reported, officials confirmed.

Sycamore Community School District 427 Superintendent Steve Wilder said some rumors swirling that the incident had left students in peril were inaccurate.

“At no point was any student or staff member in any danger whatsoever,” Wilder told the Daily Chronicle shortly after 2:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Wilder said school administrators and a school resource officer become aware of a situation needing attention around 1:30 p.m., prompting the school to go into a soft lockdown for thirty minutes. By 2 p.m. classes were proceeding as usual, Wilder said.

Sycamore Police Chief Jim Winters said the department had heard rumor’s the situation was “something more than it was.”

“There was never any indication that any other staff, student or anybody else was in any danger,” Winters said. “It was isolated to that student.”

According to a message sent by Wilder to district families Wednesday, a soft lockdown is defined as a situation where students are kept within their class rooms, or the interior of the building, until the emergency prompting the soft lockdown no longer exists.

Wilder said building’s in the school district have gone into a soft lockdown a couple of times during the 2022-2023 school year. Wilder said lockdowns are initiated often as a precaution to help keep isolated incidents isolated, even if danger to others is later determined to not exist.

“Keeping students and staff in their classroom just helps us to minimize students or staff members that may come into contact with the individual in this kind of situation, so it’s entirely a precaution just to make sure that everybody stays safe until the situation is resolved,” Wilder said.

Winter’s said incidents like the one Wednesday are why the police department works closely with the school district to keep a school resource officer at the high school.

“The school district and the Sycamore police are on the same page as far as supporting that safe environment goes, in making sure that the learning environment is a safe environment for students without being overbearing and you know, being a police state, which it shouldn’t be,” Winters said.

In the email sent to district families, Wilder applauded the way students and staff responded to the incident.

“The students and staff are to be commended for handling the lockdown in such a quick and orderly manner,” wrote Wilder. “Thank you for your cooperation and understanding regarding this matter.”

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