Ivy Tech's Elkhart campus locked down after threat

The Elkhart campus of Ivy Tech was locked down for several hours Tuesday following a reported threat.

Several parents contacted NewsCenter 16 to find out what was happening, because, they say, even students weren't being told what was going on, but were not allowed to leave campus.

The Elkhart County Sheriff’s Department would not say specifically what the threat was, but did say that at about 2:21 p.m., the department responded to an alleged threat made towards the school.

The school was locked down and re-opened approximately an hour and a half later after it was found that the threat was based on old information--a threat police had looked into Monday and had discredited.

Parents who wrote to NewsCenter16 Tuesday said it was scary for them not knowing what was going on.

Hours after the threat locked down Ivy Tech’s Elkhart campus, it was business as usual for students attending class, but many still don't know exactly why the lockdown happened and neither do their parents.

“I got a phone call from my son who went to go to school today to take a test … he was supposed to be home by 3,” said Kim Reilly, who said her 20-year-old son had left the house around noon Tuesday to study for the test. “He texted me and said they were on lockdown.”

Reilly said by 5 p.m., she still hadn't heard from her son and was getting worried.

“It really was hard to get through to anyone, to be honest. I tried calling a couple of times, and I didn't even get through to actually speak to anybody,” said Reilly. “[My son] did ask some of the staff there [why they were on lockdown], and they would not or could not—I’m not sure which—inform them what was going on.”

The school said from the moment they were informed of a possible threat, school officials’ priority was to keep the student body safe.

“When we enacted the lockdown, we had very little information, so it would not have benefited either our students or employees or the situation to provide rumor or innuendo,” said Tracie Davis, executive director of marketing and communications at Ivy Tech.

Although the school did not have specifics about the threats yet, Davis said they wanted to limit the number of people moving around in the hallways while they looked into the situation.

“Our procedure is to react to the threat as if it's real first, and then determine if it really is, has validity,” said Davis. “Our student and employee safety is our number one priority, and if we are unable to give more details, but ensure safety, we are always going to make the choice to ensure safety.”

Davis said now that the threat is over, the school is going to review how it handled the situation and see where they can make improvements.

The Elkhart County Sheriff's Department said there is no danger to the school or to the community from the threat that was made. Capt. James Bradberry told NewsCenter16 that the person who made the threats was detained and then sent for a mental evaluation, but the investigation is still ongoing, because they are looking into whether the threat itself “warrants a criminal act.”

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