Lockdown at Taranaki high school lifted

Police at the street outside Stratford High School. Photo/Ilona Hanne
Police at the street outside Stratford High School. Photo/Ilona Hanne

A Taranaki high school has been reopened after being on lockdown for almost three hours following reports a gunman had been sighted.

Police lifted a cordon about 11.30am and students were being spoken to by staff.

A police spokeswoman told the Herald officers were working to establish whether or not there had been a gunman in the first place.

However, no one fitting that description had been found. No firearm had been located either, she said.

The news comes after a report that a man with a gun had been seen on school grounds.

As a result, students arriving at school this morning had been turned away; as officers set up a cordon and school buses diverted to a park down the road.

A kindergarten next to the secondary school was also put on lockdown.

One frightened 15-year-old girl has texted her mother from inside a locked classroom to say someone had been trying the door handle.

The school Facebook page posted a message asking families not to panic and advising all students were safe and police had the situation under control.

About 10.30am, the school posted another update informing parents that some buses were stopped at Victoria Park - just down the road from school grounds.

Students on buses East Road/ Toko, Eltham Dairy bus and the Eltham Library bus had all been diverted to the park.

"If your [children] were on any of these buses, you can go and collect them from there. If you are unable to collect them, they will be supervised there until the lockdown is over and then brought back to school.''

Police dogs and handlers have been combing the area, as well as armed officers.

Witnesses say they heard a man was seen walking through the Taranaki school with a gun.

Students were turned away as they arrived for morning classes, although some parents said their children were already in the classrooms which have been locked.

Some students who arrived by bus were taken to a nearby park with some teachers while others remained in the classrooms and the school hall.

Clusters of worried and anxious parents were gathered around the police cordon.

Shortly before 10.30am police began moving people further back from the cordons.

Some parents had been in contact with their children by text and were trying to reassure them.

Police were reiterating to parents there had been no reports of shots fired and all students were believed to be safe.

Add a Comment