RB endures soft lockdown while gun threat investigated

Seventh period classes went into a soft lockdown that extended briefly past 3:05.  Police were present at the main entrance of the building to help students exit in an orderly fashion.


Seventh period classes went into a soft lockdown that extended briefly past 3:05. Police were present at the main entrance of the building to help students exit in an orderly fashion.


At the start of 6th hour February 21, Assistant Principal John Passarella came over the loudspeaker to announce the school was being placed in a soft lock down situation.That means classes were allowed to continue as normal, but students weren’t allowed to leave the room. The lock down was lifted with about 15 minutes left in the period.

Then shortly after students arrived at their 7th hour classes, Passarella came on the loudspeaker once more and announced RB was again in lock down. About 20 minutes later, there was another announcement telling teachers to check their emails. Those emails stated that police were securing the perimeter around the building so that students that walk home were not in danger of the shooting related threat.

At 3:05, Principal Pam Bylsma announced that students were indeed not allowed to leave until further notice. Students cooperated and stayed in their 7th period class until about 3:25 when Bylsma made the announcement that the suspect had been detained and urged caution to students about the many cars filling the streets because of concerned parents who were notified of this situation via automated phone call. Prior to this, Bylsma had asked students to refrain from using their phones so the school’s bandwidth wouldn’t be clogged up. This helped the administration relay the all clear message to parents.

As a public service, Clarion is re-printing the RBHS bulletins regarding today’s soft lockdown.  More information will be added when students return to school next week.

The first message posted today was as follows:

Dear Parent, Guardians and Students,

Precautionary measures were taken this afternoon by initiating a soft lockdown while the police were investigating an anonymous threat which presumably relates back to a former RB student. The call came to the Brookfield Police Department at 1:07 p.m. It indicated that the person threatened to shoot high school students. Currently the Administration is working closely with the Riverside and Brookfield Police Departments. During the soft lockdown, school routines were interrupted as little as possible. The soft lockdown lasted approximately 20-25 minutes.  

The police have established a safe perimeter around the school. As students exit the building this afternoon, they will be released under the direction of the police.  This might slow down their egress from the building, so we are asking for your patience as we work to ensure student safety.  If you want your child held in the school until you can come to pick him or her up personally, school personnel and the police will be here until you can arrive.

We appreciate the cooperation of our staff and students during this series of events and thank the local police departments for their prompt and thorough response.  We will be in further communication if we have additional information to share. We understand how concerning this is.  Please know that we take student safety seriously.

Pam Bylsma, Principal

The second message today was as follows:

Dear Parents and Guardians,

We have been informed by the police that the person of interest is being detained. The police will remain on the scene and be highly visible for the remainder of the day and throughout student dismissal. The police perimeter has been extended well beyond the immediate school vicinity to ensure the safety of students who walk home.

With this information, we are comfortable releasing students as close to 3:05 p.m. as possible.  If you have arranged to pick up your student, we are delivering that message to him/her.  The Administrative Team and the police will be here to assist with that process until all students are united with the parents who requested this.

Again, we thank you for your cooperation as we worked through this situation in order to keep all students and staff safe.

Pam Bylsma, Principal