Austin elementary school targeted by fake school shooter call

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(ABC 6 News) – Monday, a call came into Mower County dispatch from a man claiming to be inside of Austin’s Banfield Elementary School and said he was going to shoot inside. Dispatchers said they heard what they say sounded like gunshots before the call was disconnected.

A typical day turned terrifying for students at Banfield Elementary after the school was put on lockdown for a possible active school shooter.

“Suddenly the speaker turned on and there was a lockdown drill so we all went into a corner,” said Bella Polognese, a student at Banfield.

First responders knew this was not a drill.

“When that is all that we have to go on, it’s very real, we are approaching it like it’s real. We are entering that building like we are going to encounter stuff of nightmares so to speak,” explained Austin Police Chief David McKichan.

Chief McKichan says law enforcement was on the scene within minutes and after breaking through the front door, officers very quickly determined there was no real threat at Banfield.

But for students, seeing that response and the possible threat was enough.

“It was sort of scary, but I had my friend and my teacher,” Bella said.

Many kids were in tears leaving the school and hugging their parents. Many parents were taking their children out of school for the day, worried their worst fear could be coming true.

“Even if it was just a false alarm, somebody had to bring that on and that’s scary in itself,” said Bella’s grandmother, Snowella Pogonese. “It sounds like everything was taken care of really well. I’m glad the doors were locked, I’m glad the teachers took it seriously. These days it’s better to be extra cautious.”

In a statement from APS Superintendent, Joey Page, he says the school followed protocol and that it will be reviewing policies and procedures in wake of this incident.

School resumed normal operations but the district did provide resources for staff, students and parents.