WESTMINSTER, COLO. - Stephanie Harris' 5th grade son was on the school playground when police entered into a standoff with a suspect at a park across the street.
"I received a call from Cotton Creek," Harris said. "It was an automated message saying the school had been placed on lockdown."
Stephanie's son's class "high-tailed it back into the building," according to Cotton Creek principal Bill Kempsell. It's something students at the school had practiced in the past.
"I ask kids, 'What's the No. 1 thing that your parents expect when you come to school?' and very frequently they know the answer and that's that we're safe," Kempsell said.
Cotton Creek entered first into a lockdown Tuesday, when police encountered an 18-year-old in a park across the street. According to police, the suspect pointed a weapon at officers and the officers opened fire, killing the suspect.
When police cleared the lockdown, Cotton Creek remained in lockout. As dismissal time neared, the school was still concerned about the situation in the neighborhood.
Many children at Cotton Creek walk home from school, so the school chose to issue its reunification protocol, meaning parents had to pick up their children at the school.
According to Kempsell, all of the school's 600-plus students were united with parents within 55 minutes.
We looked at the school's parents Facebook page and couldn't find a single negative comment about the way the school handled the situation.
But there were comments like:
"Thank you cotton creek for being so great with our babies! I couldn't be happier with the schools response to the situation and for keeping parents informed and updated as quickly as possible!!! I'm so grateful for everyone there, and the PD that was involved!! Thank you for protecting our babies like they were your own!!"
"I'm going to head up to Starbucks and Einsteins to get some things for the teachers. Hope to get some donations also but anyone want to pitch in?"
"I am so grateful for how organized and securely things were run. I'm still on the verge of tears from the scare, but I love our community! ❤❤❤"
"I'm looking though the few pictures I took today to show my husband and I am feeling very grateful for the staff at Cotton Creek, the district crisis team, and all of the police officers who kept our kids safe. That was scary! My oldest daughter is of course a little nervous to go back to school tomorrow. We are just thankful this entire situation didn't end worse."
"We have parents who brought in coffee for staff and bagels and cookies and stuff…it was pretty delightful," Kempsell said.
"This school never ceases to impress me on their safety precautions," Harris said.
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