Government & Politics

Update: No weapons found at Oak Park High School but building was being evacuated

Police responding Monday morning to a threat at Oak Park High School found no weapons but officials were evacuating the school.

Kansas City police and the Clay County Sheriff’s Department responded after the Clay County Sheriff’s resource officer received a threat at the school about 9:15 a.m. Monday. The Clay County Sheriff’s Department reported by 10:22 a.m. that everyone was safe.

As of 10:30 a.m., the school at 825 NE 79th Terrace, Kansas City, North, remained on lockdown while authorities continued to evaluate the threat, the Clay County Sheriff said via Twitter.

Buses started lining up on North Troost Avenue about 10:45 a.m. as police prepared to evacuate the students from the high school. Students — hands on their heads — were walked single file to the buses as they evacuated.

North Kansas City Schools sent an email to families: “As a precautionary measure, we are relocating Oak Park High School students to ensure law enforcement can most effectively assess the situation. Students will be transported to Staley High School. Families members approved to pick students up from school should bring identification and pick up their student from the back entrance at Staley. Parking is available on Shoal Creek Parkway, Falcon Drive north of the entrance and the back parking lot.”

Gladstone Department of Public Safety told parents via Twitter that the buses were going to take students to Staley High School at 2800 NE Shoal Creek Pkwy, Kansas City, North, where the North Kansas City School District planned for students to reunite with parents.

The North Kansas City School District earlier sent a letter to parents that said: “Oak Park High School is currently in lockdown as we investigated an anonymous threat.

“Law enforcement is on-site assisting in the investigation and working to keep everyone safe. We don’t have a lot of detail at this time but we will keep you updated as we learn more. We know this is a stressful time and appreciate your cooperation and patience.”

Sherree Cecil said her daughter sent a text at 9:21, saying the school was on full lockdown and that she could hear sirens.

Cecil rushed to the school after she called the school and didn’t get an answer.

“A lot of things run through your mind, and none of them are good,” Cecil said.

As a cold rain fell, parents gathered outside the school waiting for answers. Mike Terrell said he heard the sirens and drove over to the school.

Christina Self said her daughter sent her a text saying the school was on lockdown. Racing through her mind as the read the text: Fear and trying to decide how to get the kids out.”

“I was headed home from work and drove by and saw all of the cop cars,” Self said.

Some parents added that they heard the threat possibly involved explosives. Those details, however, could not be confirmed with police.

Police and sheriff’s vehicles filled the parking lot in front of the school. The streets surrounding the school were blocked to traffic.

Makayla Pacheco, a student, said she arrived at the school to meet with counselors to discuss her graduation but she was not allowed inside. Several of her classmates sent her text messages saying that the school was locked down.

This is a breaking story. Check back for updates.

Robert A. Cronkleton: 816-234-4261, @cronkb

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