GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - A Grand Rapids charter elementary was on lockdown Monday and will remain locked down Tuesday after getting word of a threat against the school.
River City Scholars -- a National Heritage Academy that serves young 5 kindergarten through sixth grade -- is located on Evergreen Street SE in the building that used to be Grand Rapids Public Schools' Oakdale Elementary.
A National Heritage Academy spokeswoman said the school was put on lockdown Monday and will remain on lockdown Tuesday.
That means the school has enacted indoor dismissal, meaning parents will have to park their cars and go into the building to pick up their children, and indoor recess. Security may be increased throughout the week, according to a letter to parents.
A "credible source" heard the alleged threat made in conversation between people who do not attend River City Scholars. The threat was against the school, not someone specific, the spokeswoman said.
The school became aware of the threat late last week, and worked with Grand Rapids police throughout the weekend to determine how to handle the situation.
"The safety and security of our students, staff, and visitors is a top priority," the letter to parents said.
The letter explaining the situation was sent home to parents Monday, calling the measures "precautionary."
"Upon the advice of security experts and the Grand Rapids police, we are sharing this information with you because as you know, we intentionally work to maintain strong relationships between our parents and the school and do not want to create panic or draw undue attention to the situation," the letter reads in part.
But school officials have not specified the nature of the threat.
"The letter was a little vague," Tara Bivens, whose daughter goes to the school, said. "What kind of threat? I mean, what does this mean? I need a little bit more. I need to know more than just a threat. Should I be concerned?"
"What kind of threat was it? A bomb threat? A death threat?" questioned Lisa Ehorn, another River City Scholars parent.
School safety experts say parents demand details.
"Parents want to know. Parents want information and this day and age, you can never give a parent too much information," Larry Johnson said. "It's a trust game. It's really a trust game and you earn that respect and you earn that trust with parents based on how you deal with situations from day to day."
Johnson is Grand Rapids Public Schools' assistant superintendent and executive director of public safety and security. He is also a nationally-recognized expert on school safety.
"I know they say they didn't want to cause panic, but this causes a little bit of panic because you didn't give me enough details," Bivens said.
Parents with questions may call the school office at 616.248.3390, the letter said.
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