Police Respond to MSMHS After Alert System Defect

The administration is investigating a false emergency alert that resulted in police officers responding to MSMHS.

Police Respond to MSMHS After Alert System Defect
A police officer walks through MSMHS this April after a false alert that the school was in lockdown. Photography by Kaiden Chandler.

By Kaiden Chandler

In reporting lockdown-related stories, Kaiden has conducted extensive interviews with the MSMHS administration on the school's emergency procedures.

Speed Read: In under 1.5 minutes, everything you need to know about this month's false lockdown alert.

What to know: Police officers responded to MSMHS after receiving an automated message saying the school was in lockdown — even though it wasn’t. Investigations later found that police response was the result of a timing issue within the MSMHS emergency alert system.

Investigations: The officers walked the school with principal Ms. Amatrudo after arriving at MSMHS on April 24, the day of the alert, and found no clear threat to the school. Following the incident, LEARN — the managing district of MSMHS — had employees from its information technology department investigate the issue.

Here's why: According to Ms. Amatrudo, the alert went out after "the lockdown extension was dialed for less than one second" which was long enough to alert the 911 dispatch center  —  but too short to initiate the in-school lockdown announcement.

  • The timing issue has since been fixed. 
A police cruiser remains parked outside MSMHS on April 24 as officers investigated the possibility of a threat inside the school. Photography by Kaiden Chandler.

Catch up quick: The schoolwide emergency alert system has been “upgraded, updated, and tested a few times this year,” says Ms. Amatrudo. These upgrades include the new one-touch alert system, which allows anyone to initiate a lockdown with a single button tap on a wall-mounted phone.

  • Recent updates over April break connected the one-touch system directly to the 911 dispatch center. Previously, the school needed to manually call 911 to let the police know a lockdown was underway.

Big picture: In 2024 alone, MSMHS has had two other lockdown-related incidents.

  • The first, which occurred in early January, was triggered by an accidental activation of the one-touch emergency alert system.
  • The second lockdown, which took place just weeks later, was put in place after administrators received a “vague report” of a threat to the school, according to Ms. Amatrudo. The report was “investigated fully” through police interviews and a review of video footage, and it was determined that there was no credible threat to safety.
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