Students at Goessel High School went on with classes as usual on April 4 despite a lockdown of all exterior doors.
Superintendent John Fast was out of the office at the time an outside disturbance occurred, but he said school personnel followed safety procedures and it was a good situational practice for staff.
“A patron noticed a person behaving oddly on Goessel’s Main Street about mid-morning,” Fast said. “We appreciate that people are watching out for us. When the individual moved to the high school parking lot and started looking in cars, a city employee requested a lockdown for the safety of the children.”
Goessel City Clerk Paula Flaming said she called the Marion County Sheriff to report the incident and that department advised the school stay on lockdown until a deputy could arrive to assess the situation.
“We did not have our police in town that morning and the county officers were all the way on the other side of the county. It took at least an hour for someone to get here,” she said. “You just don’t know, when someone is carrying on like that, if they are on drugs or mentally disturbed, or what.”
Goessel principal Scott Boden said that even though all outside doors to the high school were locked as per procedure, all activity in the school buildings continued as normal except that aides who travel from the high school to the grade school were not allowed to leave.
“At no time was there any threat indicated toward the school or students,” he said. “Student safety is our highest priority. One of the changes that will come with the bond project will be moving the office so entrance doors can be locked at all times, eliminating the need for a special response in this type of situation in the future.”
Flaming said Marion County Deputy Duane McCarty found the individual who created the disturbance hiding in the Goessel City Park later that morning. After the deputy secured the individual and removed him from city limits, the sheriff’s department called school officials and gave permission to release the lockdown.
“This was good training for everyone on what needs to be done in a crisis situation,” Flaming said. “It was good everyone stayed calm but I think some work needs to be done for better communication between the city, school, and county departments. The school should have been aware of the situation and called 911 long before we had to call it in from the city office.”