Lockdown lifted at Belvidere schools; Belvidere North dismissing early

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BELVIDERE, Ill. (WTVO) — The lockdown has been lifted at Belvidere North, according to school district officials, and parents can pick up their students right away, or they will be bused home.

Per school officials, buses are ready for students to take their regular route home. Students who need to wait for a ride will be waiting at the stadium for pick up.

Seth Whitman school will dismiss at 2:05 p.m. and Central Middle School at 3:10 p.m.

Boone County Sheriff Dave Ernest said police are checking several leads, and asked that anyone with information on the incident or individual(s) who made the 911 call to contact police.

“When we determine who that is, they will be charged,” Ernest said.

Parents of students at Belvidere North High School gathered together in the parking lot of Shopko as police locked down the school and conducted a classroom-by-classroom security sweep after receiving a “safety concern” via 911 Thursday morning.

Belvidere North, Belvidere Central Middle School, and Seth Whitman Elementary School were placed on hard lockdown and roads closed.

Rumors swirled as frantic texts were sent back and forth between the students locked inside the school and the anxious parents outside.

Dan Block said his daughter was able to text him, saying she was hiding underneath her desk while police conducted a search of the area.

“You wonder what goes on in a kid’s mind that makes him want to do something like this. It’s crazy,” he said. “You hear about it all over the country. It’s a big problem…There’s gotta be something that can be done.”

Seniors Zander Hodzic and Zander Casis were locked out of school due to the lockdown.

“We’ve had threats called in before, but we’ve always still gone to class. We’ve never had a lock down like this before,” Hodzic said.

On September 20th, 2018, Belvidere South Middle School was placed on lockdown after 20-year-old Sabrina Andrews called in a false report of a man with a gun seen in the area.

“I just want to know if this is ever going to happen again,” Casis said.

“I couldn’t get a hold of my son, I tried to get a hold of him the first hour they were on lock down,” said parent Suhad Albaiaty. “Not knowing what’s going on or we don’t have much information that’s kind of leaving us with no answers right now.”

Susan Kuntzelman, a mother of two Belvidere North seniors, said, “I was thinking everything the worst. You always think that. I was thinking I’ve gotta get my babies, you’ve gotta text them right away. And they texted me, and asking ‘Are you okay? Do you need me right now? [And they said] no, we got this.'”

Via a Facebook post, Belvidere School District said they have no information that the 911 call was credible, saying ” We have not found any evidence that aligns with the concern expressed in the 911 call” but are “are taking every precaution to ensure student and staff safety.”

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