Inside West Irondequoit’s new school lockdown system

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IRONDEQUOIT, N.Y. – A student in the West Irondequoit Central School District who let his curiosity get the best of him sparked a lockdown Thursday afternoon at Dake Junior and Irondequoit High schools.

Police responded to the campus on Cooper Road when the student pressed a newly-installed “lookdown button.”

News10NBC found out how the system works.

School officials and police say although Thursday’s incident was a false alarm, the lockdown system did its job.

“Student didn’t know what it was, pushed the button and it started the false alarm,” said Chief Peters. He continued, “There was a school official that was with him, and they were not quite sure how to call in the false alarm.”

“As it came in, it came in as children locked in a classroom, barricaded in a classroom,” said Irondequoit Police Chief Scott Peters.

And both buildings – which are adjacent – went into lockdown mode.

“We have magnetized doors in the hallways that are released and sectioned off the buildings,” said Dr. Aaron Johnson, superintendent of schools.

“Instantaneously there’s a message that goes out to local police departments, and also our core administrative team across the district.”

All 10 buildings in the district were equipped with a lockdown button this school year as part of a capital project. Johnson says the system is intended to be used only by staff members.

“These buttons are in locations that should be accessible by staff. So, the ones in our main office are purposely within arm’s reach of clerical so that we quickly hit that in the time of an emergency,” said Johnson.

Having the latest technology to protect students and staff is a top priority, but the responsibility weighs heavily on him.

“I do not sleep at easy in my position knowing that under my watch there’s 3,600 students, and almost 800 staff members. That’s nothing I take lightly,” said Dr. Johnson.

The lockdown buttons cost $134,000.