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Ailshie made the right call on soft lockdown

Editorial Board • Updated Mar 2, 2017 at 12:33 PM

No harm. No foul. No ambulance.

Those words, coined by legendary Los Angeles Lakers broadcaster Chick Hearn, referred to a clean basketball play that on the surface may have looked otherwise.

Those words also apply to what recently happened when Dobyns-Bennett High School and the Palmer Center went on a soft lockdown.

With an alleged 18-year-old killer, who at one time went to D-B, on the loose, Kingsport City Schools Superintendent Lyle Ailshie put both school facilities on a soft lockdown.

“This means that students will remain indoors until afternoon dismissal,” said a KCS email that went out to parents. “There is no current indication that anyone at the school is at risk, however this is simply being done in an abundance of caution. Currently, D-B students are in their C block classes. Current plans are that students will eat lunch and remain in that location for the remainder of the school day. After school dismissal will take place as normal with extra safety precautions in place. Again, there is no current indication that anyone at the school is at risk. However, safety is always going to be our first priority and this is being done in an abundance of caution. We will continue to keep you updated as information develops.”

The alleged killer’s Facebook page had some pretty scary stuff on it. D-B students, during the lockdown, saw that page. There were also some inadvertent glitches, like some students never made it to lunch or the bathroom. Some tests didn’t get taken.

If there was no indication that anyone at the school was at risk, one could easily argue that the school day should go on normally. With test scores in Tennessee becoming more and more important, every school day is critical to a student’s success.

But we agree with Ailshie’s call. He said the school system will always err on the side of caution when it comes to school safety. He also said school officials will meet to go over what happened during the lockdown to see what lessons might be learned for the future.

Ailshie got this one right, and he deserves our thanks for making a decision to protect students and teachers.

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