More details released on Frederick Co. school lockdown, but questions remain

Investigators released more details on what transpired Thursday at Green Valley Elementary School, in Frederick County, Maryland, but why it all happened is still not clear.

The school was put on lockdown early Thursday afternoon after a report of a stabbing, but that report turned out to be false, and when the deputies showed up, a teacher and 27 fifth-grade students were gone. They were found safe and sound at a café about a mile away.

In a statement Friday, the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office provided more details on what exactly happened.

The sheriff’s officer said the teacher apparently wanted to take the children outside for class. She called the office on her standard walkie-talkie to ask for permission, but got no response and thought the school seemed “eerily quiet,” the sheriff’s office said.

“As part of her teaching in emergency management procedures,” specifically the tactic known as Avoid, Deny, Defend, the teacher took the kids through the nearby woods toward the café, authorities said. On the way, the teacher directed the students to take off any brightly colored clothing or accessories, and took off her own brightly colored shirt, the sheriff’s office said.

When the group got to the café, the teacher had workers there call 911 and report multiple stabbings at the school at about 12:20 p.m. Dispatchers talked with the café workers for a few minutes, then got on the phone with the teacher, who described what she thought was happening.

Deputies and school officials went to both the school and the café, secured both scenes and brought the students back after about an hour, where they were reunited with their parents, the sheriff’s office said. The teacher was taken into custody — not arrested, charged or handcuffed, the sheriff’s office emphasized — and evaluated at Frederick Health Hospital.

As for why the teacher reached the conclusion that there had been stabbings at the school, in Monrovia, “that is still part of the ongoing investigations,” the sheriff’s office said.

No one was hurt. The sheriff’s office is still determining whether the teacher will be charged.

In their own statement, Frederick County Public Schools said the teacher “believed there was a concern for safety that caused her to act.” They added, “We are grateful that this was a non-credible threat, but we know that the experience was upsetting for the students involved and our community at large. We regret that this happened.”

The school system said school officials have met with the families of the students involved. They’re also still investigating why it all happened, which will determine “any additional actions steps that should be taken.”

They said they can’t release the name of the teacher or her status.

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Rick Massimo

Rick Massimo came to WTOP, and to Washington, in 2013 after having lived in Providence, R.I., since he was a child. He's the author of "A Walking Tour of the Georgetown Set" and "I Got a Song: A History of the Newport Folk Festival."

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