SLIDESHOW: Daytime robbery disrupted schools, public facilities

Posted by Ryan Jeltema • Last Updated 2:59 pm on Monday, November 14 2011

GREENVILLE — A bank robbery in downtown Greenville on Wednesday morning had ripples across the area, especially in schools.
All Greenville Public Schools buildings went into a “code yellow” lockdown situation minutes after the robbery was reported at 10:35 a.m. About a half-hour later, the Greenville Department of Public Safety advised school officials to upgrade to a “code red” lockdown about a half hour after the robbery.
Superintendent Pete Haines said the code yellow brought restrictions on people entering and exiting the schools. Students in some half-day programs were not dismissed on time.
“We are not releasing children other than to parents directly,” Haines said at 11:15 a.m. during the code yellow. “Mid-day bus runs will be delayed until we get the clearance to release.”
Haines said the code red, the most serious security condition, was implemented just after 11:30 a.m. That required students and staff to “shelter in place” inside the schools and Nobody was allowed to enter or exit the buildings.
Greenville public safety officers and Montcalm County sheriff’s deputies stationed outside Baldwin Heights, Cedar Crest and Walnut Hills elementary schools for security.
The lockdown was lifted around 12:20 p.m.
During that time, St. Charles Catholic School at Benton and Franklin streets and Grattan Academy High School south of the city in Eureka Township also locked down.
Grattan Academy Principal Tom Kreiner said Montcalm County Central Dispatch advised the school to lock down shortly after the robbery. The school’s 175 students in attendance on Wednesday remained locked down until about 1:30 p.m., more than an hour longer than Greenville Public Schools.
Kreiner said he decided to stay locked down longer because police were not sure of the suspect’s whereabouts.
“I would rather err on the side of caution so we stayed on (lockdown) a little longer,” he said. “We just wanted to make sure everything was safe.”
Some parents took their students out of school during the lockdown.
Grattan students ate their lunches in classrooms due to the lockdown. The school’s exterior doors also remained locked for the remainder of the school day.
“We locked the exterior doors so access was limited in the building,” Kreiner said.
Spectrum Health United Memorial also placed all of its facilities in Greenville on lockdown from 10:55 a.m. to 12:28 p.m., according to spokeswoman Jennifer DenOuden. That meant patients were allowed to leave the facilities but could only enter if their identification could be verified.
Kreiner said schools traditionally conduct lockdown drills every year. He said one or two lockdowns are common each school year.
“I think it’s normal to have a couple concerns but it’s usually limited,” Kreiner said.

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