Local school under lockout after dispute

By Bethany Knipp

A Manhattan elementary school has been in a lockout since Friday, locking its front door and keeping children inside for recesses, district officials said.

Woodrow Wilson Elementary School, 312 N. Juliette Ave., has locked its front door for the last several days because of a domestic dispute in the neighborhood that involved at least one child at the school who is no longer attending, said USD 383 Communications and Safety Director Michele Jones.

“Everything inside the building is happening normally,” she said.

The principal of the school, Deb Nauerth, decided to keep the children inside for recess for their safety because of the potential threat.

Nauerth said there was no imminent danger to anyone and that the lockout was a precaution.

“Locking the door at school is very similar to locking your doors at home,” she said.

Jones said the lockout is different than a lockdown.

“A lockdown is when someone is already in the building that shouldn’t be there,” she said.

A lockout monitors the people who come in.

Currently, the only door people can enter during the school day is the front door, which is visible from the front office, Jones said, so personnel can see who’s there and let them in. 

Stephanie Grynkiewicz, whose daughter is a fifth grader at Wilson, said the school has communicated that it’s not trying to lock out parents, just an individual.

“Parents can still go in and out,” Grynkiewicz said. “If I needed to pick my daughter up for a dentist appointment, I would knock on the door and they would let me in.”

USD 383’s Jones said the school sent numerous emails to parents and sent a note home in students’ backpacks.

She said the school is communicating with the Riley County Police Department to determine when it’s safe for the children to go outside.

Nauerth said she didn’t know when that would be exactly.

“Eventually we need to go back to business as normal,” Jones said. When that will happen depends on the situation, she said.

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