Students at two Christchurch high schools huddled, frightened under desks for 20 minutes, a pupil says, after an unknown person was seen showing “concerning” behaviour on site.
Police were called to Shirley Boys’ High School and Avonside Girls’ High School on Tuesday at 11.40am. The two schools share a site in the city’s east.
Shirley principal Tim Grocott and Avonside principal Catherine Law released a joint statement about an hour later that the schools had come out of lockdown and all staff and students were safe.
“All students, staff and persons on-site are safely accounted for. Everyone did extremely well and responded to instructions,” the statement said.
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“I would like to personally thank you for your support and trust during this difficult time.”
A Shirley Boys’ High School student, who Stuff agreed not to name, said he was left frightened after seeing a male walk through the school while in lockdown.
His class was studying in the library and told to sit in the middle of the library quietly and to stay off their phones after a mumbled lockdown announcement played over the loudspeakers.
“I saw an individual walk past the library window and I got very, very scared and frightened. I’m not sure if it was the aggressor or not, and then I saw a police officer come past, and I thought I should be alright now,” the student said.
Another Shirley student said his class huddled under desks for 20 minutes before all students were evacuated to an enclosed tennis court outside.
“I thought it was just a prank because sometimes kids connect to the speakers, but my teacher said it was real, so we got under the desks,” he said.
“We went out on the tennis courts, and they did a roll check, and they told us that the police had got [him].
Grocott confirmed to Stuff shortly after noon that a person “not known to us” had walked onto the school site displaying “concerning” behaviour.
A police spokesperson said the unknown person who triggered the lockdown was not armed and no one was injured.
“Police responded to reports of a suspicious person who walked into a school on Travis Road around 11:40am, as a precaution the school went into lock down,” they said.
“Police have removed the person and are speaking with them now.”