Dothan High School Lockdown

By: Deborah Tuff
By: Deborah Tuff

A lockdown at Dothan High School has some students shaken up. Officials said it was a standard procedure to dispel rumors of drugs and contraband being brought in by students.

The word “lockdown” was what Dothan High students heard over the schools intercom shortly after school began on Thursday morning.

Students were told to stay where they were because of a lockdown and Dothan police came in and searched the entire school and some students.

"Let's say there's an intruder in the building and we want to get all our kids to safety that is the words that we use to get them to get them to safety. They go into the classroom; they'll put a green plastic card in the window, to show their not in danger," said Dothan High Principal, Dr. James McCarty.

Dothan Police Chief John Powell said, "Students in and of themselves were not searched, unless we felt like we had a reason to search an individual, the property was searched."

According to Dr. McCarty lockdowns were standard. However still, some students consider the police dogs searching and the intercom announcement too over-the-top.

Dothan High student Brittney Kelley said, "I think it was uncalled for personally, I don't think they had any leads to drugs."

"Well, really it was a huge waste of time, when we got here we just sat around for two hours doing nothing," said Jason Green, Dothan High student.

While searching students' property, a small amount of marijuana was found inside the car of 19-year-old student Carlis Austin who has since been arrested.

Police also found more than 500 cell phones which are against state law; prohibit students from having cell phones inside schools.

Parents were asked to pick up the phones and not have their students bring them back to school. Violators could be suspended.

"I mean what's there to get upset about? We got our cell phones back, they didn't suspend the students. They could have suspended them for two days in school suspension," said Billy Oung, parent.

Some parents however, don't share Oung’s enthusiasm. News 4 spoke with one parent who contacted her lawyer to see if unsuspected lockdowns are legal.

Superintendent Dr. Sam Nichols told News 4 that calls to his office concerning contraband in the school is the reason the lockdown took place. He also said that the last one they had was about three years ago.

Lockdowns are typically random and the only people that know about it are the schools superintendent, the school principal, and the city's police chief.


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