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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Update: Lockdown Concluded at Columbia High School


Updated 5:15pm: The Maplewood Police Department has issued a press release regarding the code red lockdown at Columbia High School today. According to the release, the MPD received an automated message that the lockdown alarm was activated at CHS at approximately 10:35am. Upon arrival, officers were "advised by school staff that they had no knowledge as to why the alarm was activated". Subsequently, "officers conducted a search for an active threat, (however) no active threat was located". As was reported earlier, several classrooms in the 'A wing' of CHS were not checked by officers following the lockdown. In response, the release from the MPD notes that "the incident is presently under review".

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Update 3:20pm: In an announcement to students, CHS Principal Elizabeth Aaron said that the lockdown was "related to an incident that involved technology". South Orange Maplewood School District Acting Superintendent James Memoli said in an email to parents that the lockdown was caused by "technical work being done on system lines", and that the Maplewood Police Department assured officials that "there was not a threat to student or staff safety at any time".

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Original Post: Columbia High School (CHS) in Maplewood was under code red lockdown this morning. An alarm was activated at approximately 10:37am during period 4. Students were released from the lockdown shortly before 12:00pm during period 5.

CHS Principal Elizabeth Aaron, Assistant Principals Cheryline Hewitt and Michael Healy, and Guidance Department Supervisor Jennifer Giordano made several announcements to students and staff members during the lockdown.

"There is no threat to anyone's safety", Healy announced. "We appreciate your patience", he added.

Aaron informed students that officers from the Maplewood Police Department would check every classroom before anyone was released. However, multiple classrooms in the 'A wing' of the school were not inspected by officers. There was a large police presence outside of the school during the lockdown.

In an email to parents during the lockdown, Acting Superintendant James Memoli said that "all students (were) safely sheltered".

The reason for the lockdown has not yet been released.

CHS was also under code red lockdown in November, after a student allegedly brought brass knuckles inside the building. In the 2013-14 school year, the code red alarm was accidentally set off by a maintenance contractor, causing the school to be under lockdown until 3:30pm. The alarms were installed in 2013.

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File Photo of CHS