First day of school sees lockdown in Vanleer due to nearby police investigation but no threat to school

The first day of school turned out to be a little more exciting than expected for students at Vanleer Elementary School. The school was placed on a lockdown Friday morning and then a modified lockdown into the afternoon due to an unrelated call in close proximity to the school. Sheriff Jeff Bledsoe said deputies are looking for a man who had made statements about harming himself or any law enforcement officers who tried to interfere. Bledsoe emphasized that there has not been any direct threat to the elementary school but that officials decided to take the extra precautions because the man’s home is about half a mile from the school and he has not been located. Director of Schools Dr. Danny Weeks said a modified lockdown allows students and staff to move about within the school in conducting their normal routine, but no activities are allowed outside the building and the staff is taking extra precautions regarding visitors to the school. Bledsoe said deputies have been on the campus as an extra safety measure. The sheriff said the incident actually began with a report of a possible situation Thursday night involving the unnamed man, but after consulting with a magistrate the deputies determined no crime had been committed and the subject did not appear to be a threat to himself or others so no action was taken. The incident resumed Friday morning when central communications received a call that the man had threatened to harm himself and could be armed. Bledsoe said officers responding to the home were unable to locate the man and have been searching for him to check on his welfare. Bledose said a determination of what action to take will be made when the subject is located. Weeks said the lockdown has been a little inconvenient on the first day of school, which normally sees a higher amount of traffic with parents and visitors in and out of the building. But he said upon the advice of the sheriff’s office, he determined it was the better choice to take the extra safety measures until hearing from the deputies that the situation has been resolved.