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Mayor & Police Commissioner Meet With KIPP Academy Parents Day After Lockdown

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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — One day after a Baltimore City charter school goes on lockdown, the mayor and the police commissioner meet with parents to talk about what happened at KIPP Academy.

Monique Griego has more.

Many family members were frustrated with how long it took to get information and then how long it took to be reunited with their children.

Things were back to normal Friday at KIPP Academy in Northwest Baltimore–a sharp contrast from just 24 hours before.

Reports of a man with a gun sent SWAT teams to campus. The threat turned out to be unfounded–an important piece of information some parents feel was slow to be released.

“The parents were panicked, they were highly upset,” said Kane Junior, student’s brother.

Junior rushed to the school to check on his sister and got caught up in a crowd of anxious parents waiting for answers. They’d later find out from investigators two KIPP students saw a college journalism student carrying a tripod and thought it was a gun.

“Who saw something that was strange to them, they saw someone who did not fit the profile of someone who was supposed to be on campus and they did the right thing–they told someone,” said Commissioner Anthony Batts, Baltimore City Police.

Junior is glad the threat was taken seriously, but believes parents and students could have had their fears calmed sooner.

“She told me the whole time she didn’t know what was going on. She was very scared,” he said.

At a news conference Friday, the mayor and police commissioner said, while they understand parents’ frustrations, the worst thing is to rush and give out the wrong information.

“We wanted to be absolutely sure and we want to send out a message to anyone who is thinking about doing this–this is not the place,” Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said.

Students from KIPP were bused to Poly-Western to be picked up. The process took hours, and after an emotional roller coaster of a day, parents’ tempers flared.

Still, police say everything was done to protect students.

“If our children are in jeopardy, we will be there and we’ll do whatever it takes to make sure they’re safe,” the commissioner said.

In a statement to WJZ, the district said a response to any possible threat to children’s safety is treated as a matter of extreme urgency.

Many parents told WJZ they were thankful KIPP Academy recently had a drill to practice emergencies like this.

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