Schools partially locked down

Staff report


William Holmes McGuffey Elementary School, 310 S. Schenley Ave., went into a partial lockdown from 11:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Wednesday after a school security officer told school officials police were seeking a “suspicious” man in the West Side neighborhood, who might be carrying a firearm.

At 12:30 p.m., police caught the man, who never entered the school building or its grounds, said Cathy Dorbish, school principal. No report on the arrest was available Wednesday night from city police.

The same partial lock down applied at all the school district’s West Side schools – Chaney Campus, Volney Rogers Discovery School and Kirkmere Elementary School, said Bill Morvay, school district security director.

Partial lockdown means the building’s occupants were free to move within the building, but only one exterior door was in use, with a staff member controlling access at that door, which was the main entrance, Dorbish explained.

Had there been a full lockdown, children would have been locked inside their classrooms.

“We were safe. The kids were sound, and we were taking the necessary precautions,” Dorbish said. “We had a procedure in place, and everything went smoothly.”

McGuffey enrolls about 650 children in pre-kindergarten through sixth grade and has about 100 staff, including faculty.

Dorbish emailed school staff about the partial lockdown and was planning to issue a recorded telephone call to parents to reassure them their children were safe Wednesday afternoon.

Police told school security officials the man being sought was at Mahoning Plaza at Mahoning Avenue and Meridian Road and carrying a firearm in his waistband, Morvay said.

Morvay said he didn’t know where the man was arrested and whether he was actually armed.