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February 01, 2012 05:55 PM

Madison Shooting Prompts District Lockdown

Madison, SD


Area schools and Dakota State University started their day in lockdown because of the incident. DSU's was eventually lifted, however Madison Central Schools stayed in lockdown throughout the day as a precaution.

Classes went on at Madison Central Schools Wednesday; however it wasn't all as normal.

"We’re operating today in lockdown, where most every door in the building is locked," Vince Schaefer said.

Superintendent Vince Schaefer made the decision after meeting with police early Wednesday morning.

At that time, the gunman was believed to still be at large, so the schools decided to take precautions. Students who had to leave the building were escorted out by staff. Everyone else had to stay inside. Field trips and recess were canceled.

"It’s a total shock to us, but I think the entire concept of having this type of incident take place in our community is beyond thought," Schaefer said.

The victim 72-year-old Norm Johnson has ties to the district as a retired teacher. Schaefer says that makes the situation even harder.

"It happened to be that he was my High School English teacher myself so it's tough and we're all hurting today," Schaefer said.

Schaefer says he was with the school for many years, and also taught some of the current staff.

"It's very unsettling," Schaefer said.

The school did not let us inside the building today because they're trying to limit the number of people going in and out of the building because they're on lockdown, it's a decision parents are happy with.

"I thought my kids would be safer at school knowing they were under a lockdown than being home by themselves because I wasn't going to be able to get off work to stay with them," Jennifer Hively said.

And, depending on the police investigation, the schools may remain in lockdown again Thursday.

"It’s just trying to be safe," Schaefer said.

After making the decision to put the school on lockdown, Schaefer says they sent out electronic messages to students and staff informing them.

*Note: The inside shots used in this story were not taken Wednesday.
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