School officials to keep Lincoln Heights Elementary on lockdown

School officials to keep Lincoln Heights Elementary on lockdown

LINCOLN HEIGHTS, OH (FOX19) - A lockdown put in place by the Princeton City School District at Lincoln Heights Elementary will stay in place for the time being.

The school board says it's a matter of safety for the kids and the staff. On Monday night, the district heard passionate pleas from families fighting for the school.

As of now, the school will not close its doors permanently, but school board members are adamant about keeping the lockdown intact.

The lockdown means no outdoor recess, no extracurricular activities, limited staff travel and an increased police presence for the rest of the year.

Members of the Lincoln Heights community took to a street corner just across from the school Monday afternoon armed with signs and a message.

"This is for our kids. This is education. It's important. We're rallying for the good of the kids, not the wrong of the streets," said Fatia Ali, who lives in Lincoln Heights.

The wrong they're talking about is violent crime. There have been instances so serious and frequent, that the board decided to put the school on lockdown for the rest of the year. They have even considered closing it.

"I know that y'all not going to close this school. Y'all are going to release our babies off of lockdown and we [are] going to go on from this," said one community member during Monday's emergency board meeting.

"We don't need our children to be on lockdown. We need you to find a way to take away the perception that our school and our community [are] not safe," said Laverne Mitchell, mayor of Lincoln Heights.

In 11 months, school officials say they've had more than 20 incidents on school ground and around the neighborhood that have them concerned. Of them, there have been shootings nearby, a stray bullet hitting an empty school bus, and, as of just a few days ago, a classroom window was shot out.

"The community has to stand up and put their feet in the ground and say, 'Look, we're tired of this. We're not going to accept this kind of behavior anymore.' It's impacting our community, but it's more so impacting our children," said school superintendent, Dr. Gary Pack.

Right now, keeping the school on lockdown is the plan.

"There's not some plot or some arrangement to close Lincoln Heights Elementary School. What we're trying to do is find a compromise where kids can come and be safe and teachers and staff can come and feel the same so learning can take place," said Pack.

School officials are working to put a school resource officer in the school.

The superintendent says 40 percent of the students who can go to Lincoln Heights Elementary School request to go elsewhere in the district. The school has space for 440 students, but only have about 180 enrolled.


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