Lockdown closes two Lumberton schools in search for teen
Thursday, Feb. 28, was anything but routine for Lumberton’s schools and district authorities.
Shortly before 11 a.m. a “15-year-old boy left campus and went and burglarized (a relative’s) residence, and some guns went missing,” Lumberton Police Chief Danny Sullins said.
In response, police and LISD authorities placed the high school on lockdown and the intermediate school on modified lockdown.
A lockdown was initiated before noon.
There was no direct threat to the schools; rather the closure was done out of an abundance of caution, the chief stated.
“These kids were fine,” he said.
By 12:45 p.m., the Texas Department of Public Safety and Hardin County Sheriff Department officers detained the teenager and retrieved the weapons.
Events of the day unfolded in rapid order after the school notified the family that their child had walked away from the alternative campus.
The family thought the teen had gone to a family-home nearby and went there to check on his welfare, according to Hardin County Sheriff Mark Davis.
“They discovered that the home had been burglarized of some guns and a vehicle,” he said.
The police were contacted, and the school notified which triggered the lockdown, he continued.
When sheriff’s deputies went to the home to investigate the burglary; Davis said: “we spotted him back behind the house near the woods.”
Officers tried to make contact with the boy, but he fled on foot fled into the woods, leading deputies set up a perimeter to close-in on the teen.
“He was taken into custody when he tried to cross Hwy 69 several miles from the campus,” the sheriff said.
No name or personal information is available on the teen as he is a juvenile, but Davis says he will remain in custody indefinitely for continued evaluation.
“He ended up with a charge of burglary of a habitation and the unauthorized use of a motor vehicle,” the sheriff said, although the weapons and four-wheeler were recovered.
All local law enforcement agencies responded to the emergency: Lumberton, Silsbee, Sour Lake, and Kountze police departments along with the Department of Public Safety.
“We get all of the resources we can to get a quick resolution and relieve any fear or anxiety over the lockdown,” Davis said.
Lumberton ISD resumed normal scheduling before 1 p.m., and the superintendent took to social media to assure parents that the situation had been safely resolved.
Some parents expressed concern over the decision and procedures for notification of the LISD leading up to the decision to lockdown the schools.
The Ledger reached out to Superintendent Gerald Chandler, who said that the process initiated with contact from the Lumberton Police Department to the “LISD through the HS Assistant Principals Office. Within our district, our notification process was activated. The principal approved the call for the lockdown, and the notification process continued through our district process and chain of information sharing.”
Wide-spread information then disseminates through the Lumberton ISD Facebook Page, the Lumberton ISD website, the SchoolMessenger auto-dialer system, and the school district email system.
“We use multiple means of communication,” Chandler said.
The fastest way to reach people of the district is the Facebook page as the auto-dialer takes time to process all of the calls – as all calls do not occur at one time.
“The system is processing thousands of calls within a period of time,” he said. Our first priority was to ensure our students were safe before sending out information.
Once the lockdown was initiated both buildings were secured from outside entry; Chandler said: “while students still had monitored movement throughout the inside of the secured building.”
In terms of the decision to continue classes during the lockdown, the superintendent says that the school district operates a reunification system which students to leave campus with any designated person on their emergency contact form.
“Identification is required to pick up a student,” Chandler said.
The system allows students to be released, remain on campus, and receive counseling if they felt the need.
“Our tiered system of dismissal and the running of buses are considerations for dismissing school,” he said.
By staying at school, the students remained under safe supervision.
He closed comments by saying, “I am proud to say our students and staff were kept in a safe environment as things unfolded.”
The superintendent emphasized the ISD’s primary responsibility as providing security for the students and staff.