Los Osos students locked inside classrooms amid investigation

Los Osos Middle School.
Los Osos Middle School. jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

Los Osos Middle School students were locked inside their classrooms for about 20 minutes Monday morning after the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office received a report concerning student safety and alerted school administrators.

Los Osos Middle School Principal Andre Illig said that a “shelter in place” procedure lasted from about 9:45 to 10:05 a.m., as teachers locked their doors but continued teaching, he said.

The procedure ended after the sheriff’s office investigated the report and gave the school the “all clear” to continue the day as scheduled.

San Luis Obispo County sheriff’s spokesman Tony Cipolla said the Sheriff’s Office received a call from a family member of a student at Los Osos Middle School at 9:13 a.m. The person said that a rumor was going around on social media of a general threat against the school.

He declined to be more specific about the threat.

“As rumors often do, they spread quickly, and that’s what this turned out to be — a rumor,” Cipolla said.

A couple of sheriff’s deputies responded to the school to investigate. Cipolla declined to say how they determined the threat was unfounded.

He said the school administration made the decision in coordination with the Sheriff’s Office to issue the “shelter in place” alert.

Illig said he couldn’t comment specifically on the report called into the Sheriff’s Office, but said school officials “erred on the side of caution because student safety is of utmost concern.”

“Someone called in a concern and so they had to investigate the concern toward the school,” he said.

Teachers’ doors at the middle school have “Lock Blok” devices attached that allow teachers to keep their doors locked but ajar during the school day. During an emergency, the door can be closed without the teacher having to step outside to lock it.

We’ve done plenty of drills and practices and I’m very proud of our students and our staff in being able to respond quickly,” Illig said.

He also sent an email to parents alerting them of the incident, which read in part:

“Today we initiated a shelter in place procedure. A report was made concerning student safety. The report was fully investigated in partnership with our local law enforcement agencies.

“Student safety is our top priority. We welcome you to report any and all concerns to the school, and we appreciate your vigilance.”