Lincoln Heights parents claim racism causing school lockdown
LINCOLN HEIGHTS, OH (FOX19) -
Lincoln Heights Elementary is on lockdown for the remainder of the school year in the wake of what school officials are calling "a significant amount of random violence within the village."
District leaders say it's forced them to eliminate outdoor recess and extra curricular activities. They are also reducing staff travel and increasing police presence.
Within 24 hours, a meeting that was supposed to be between two parents and a school board member to discuss the lockdown turned into more than fifty parents and several school officials. It became clear the parents believe when it comes to possibly closing Lincoln Heights Elementary the reason isn't violence.
"It takes one bullet for a student getting off the bus, end of recess outside and we could not look ourselves in the mirror and say that we could not proactively have planned to ensure that each and every child was safe," said Ed Theroux, Director of Student Services for the Princeton School District.
A dramatic increase in violence is why Princeton School officials say they are locking down Lincoln Heights Elementary for the remainder of the year. A stray bullet striking a school bus last December is just one example, they say, of an unpredictable pattern of violence.
But the Chief of Police for Lincoln Heights Village Conroy Chance told a different story.
"From January of this year to May of this year 2014, we've had one shooting related incident," said Chief Chance.
Angry residents took turns telling the board a lockdown is one step towards closing the school for good.
"Make me think that the majority of the people that want to close the school down are racist," said Elbert Daniels.
"I care about the fact that the fools [are] up there shooting on the hill, but don't act like it is everybody. Don't act like we don't care. Don't act like we don't want our children educated because we do," said one mother.
"We are not here to say that we want to close down Lincoln Heights Elementary," replied Theoroux before being interrupted by disagreeing parents. "If it continues like this we will just end it right here," said Theoroux.
Since December, school officials say they have had to put the elementary school on lockdown at least five times due to violence in the village.
Monday, the Board of Education plans to make a decision on whether to close the school for the remainder of the year during a meeting at 6 p.m. in Sharonville. Public comment will also be accepted at that meeting.