Laie Elementary School was on lockdown after getting threatening calls

Written by: 
Clover Cheng ~ Multimedia Journalist

Students at Laie Elementary School resumed normal activities after reports of harassing phone calls put the school in lockdown on March 8.

According to the Laie Elementary School official website, front office staff received harassing phone calls requesting for information on March 7. While the purpose of the request and the caller’s identity were unknown, a staff member made a report to Honolulu Police Department (HPD).

The lockdown was put into effect shortly after a threat of bodily harm to a staff member from more harassing phone calls on March 8. During the lockdown, students were kept safe inside the locked classrooms and were released at the end of the school day.

HPD was on campus around noon and checked on the phone number of the harassing phone calls, and concluded that it was a, "scam.” No injuries have been reported. A security attendant from Keamalu Consulting Investigation Consulting Agency was sent by District Office to guard campus on March 11.

Skyler Chambers, a business junior from Utah and a father of a 6-year-old daughter attending Laie Elementary School, said, “I got aggravated when I found out about the lockdown. It was 2:15 p.m. when I went to pick up my daughter as a normal off school time. I saw cops running around like a mad house. It makes me nervous. Parents need to know what is going on. It will make me feel better if I know how the school is going to protect the children.”

“I wish the school could contact parents through either email or phone call but not give us a letter after…My daughter said the teacher made them sit under their desks for two hours and go to the bathroom in a bucket,” said Chambers.

As a prospective teacher, Lauren Clifford, a TESOL junior from Arizona, shared her opinion if she was put in the situation of a lockdown. She said, “As a teacher, we have to be brave, take authority, take action, and be confident. The most important thing is to keep the students calm. A teacher shouldn’t act scared, the students would get worried. A true hero is to be strong for others.”

Roy H. Yamamoto, the director of Campus Safety & Security, said BYU-Hawaii has an emergency notification system to alert students of an emergency. He recalled, “We have used the emergency notification system for tsunami warnings such as for the earthquake off British Columbia in October 2012 and Japan in March 2011.”

According to the campus alert system poster themed, “Don’t be the last to know,” it reads, “BYU-Hawaii’s new alert system enables emergency response team members to communicate with students, staff, and faculty in minutes by sending a message via a number of contact methods—including email, text messaging, and cell phones.”

For students who would like to receive emergency alerts from BYUH’s Everbridge Aware campus alert system, here are the instructions:

1. Login to my.byuh.edu
2. Click on myTools > Update Personal Information
3. Enter or update your Campus Emergency Alert Phone