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AISD talks lock down procedures following nearby police standoff

Amarillo police blocked off an entire neighborhood in Amarillo during a police standoff Tuesday, however, two nearby schools never went into a lock down mode.

Neither Puckett Elementary nor Amarillo High School went on lock down Tuesday, a decision cleared by both law enforcement and school administration. That's just one part of the routine procedures that are gone through any time a threatening situation arises.

"I was surprised there wasn't a lock down," said Brian Hoffman, the father of a six-year-old Puckett Elementary School student. He learned about the standoff while he was at work Tuesday and says he continued to monitor the situation himself through online news sources.

But AISD officials say even though a lock down was considered, it wasn't necessary.

"Because yesterday's situation was contained to one particular home and they [APD] knew what was occurring we, under their advisement, didn't go into a lock and secure," explained Christina Ritter, Executive Director of Student Performance for Amarillo High Cluster.

But should a situation call for one, all AISD campuses follow the same lock down procedures.

"Just like you practice for a tornado drill, you practice for a fire drill,," said Ritter, "you practice for a lock and secure drill as well."

But depending on the campus, the way they're practiced may vary.

"An elementary campus doesn't have open campus lunch where a high school campus has open campus lunch" continued Ritter. "So there are different scenarios that the campus has to practice for, yes."

Ritter said no matter their age, it's about controlling access, keeping the kids locked and secure and away from the doors, even if the lock down runs past the end of the school day.

"Safety is priority," she said. "Safety trumps the school day."

For that, parents like Brian, are thankful.

"I'm sure each school is doing what they can within their means to make sure our children are safe," said Brian.

AISD has even gone so far as to plan how to handle a lock down situation when they have students that would normally leave early to go to work.  They've planned to contact them, and offer alternate routes or rides to home or their job.

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