Man with machete prompts elementary school lockdown

Posted by: Melissa Johnson - bio | email

Dothan, AL (WSFA) – A scary situation unfolded Friday morning at an Ozark Elementary school.

School officials put Lisenby Elementary on lockdown, after they saw a man walking around campus carrying a machete.

School Principal Jaann Wells was attending a meeting off campus, so the school's Assistant Principal, who's new to the job, stepped up and made the decision.

Wells said, "They did a great job, and I'm very proud of our school.  It could have been very serious."

Ozark City Schools Superintendent Mike Lenhart says thanks to that swift action, students remained both safe and calm during the entire incident.

Lenhart said, "They followed the procedures precisely, and there were never any children in harm's way.  I hate that these things happen but I could not be prouder that the school reacted the way they did."

Parents we talked with echoed those feelings.

Parent Debbie Clark said, "I didn't even realize something had happened, but when my daughter told me about it, and how everything was handled and how everyone seemed to feel safe, that made me feel safe."

School officials say they plan to take what they've learned and change the way they conduct drills.

Wells said, "We have decided that's were going to do it more often, and were going to do it at times that would not be normal.  We want the students to have the chance to practice different situations because you never know what it's going to be."

The school was back up and running after about thirty minutes after the lockdown began.

Administrators say they have local law enforcement to thank for their quick response.

Police arrested the intruder, 32-year-old Michael Calhoun.

He's charged with public intoxication and third-degree criminal trespassing, and is in the Dale County Jail with a $1,000 bond.

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