Three elementary schools went into lockout in South Newton on Tuesday afternoon but police later determined there was no threat. (Photo: Now-Leader).

Three elementary schools went into lockout in South Newton on Tuesday afternoon but police later determined there was no threat. (Photo: Now-Leader).

Three Surrey elementary schools were in lockout Tuesday

It turned out to be unnecessary, police say

Three Surrey elementary schools were put into lockout on Tuesday afternoon in south Newton but police indicate this turned out to be unnecessary.

Surrey RCMP Corporal Scotty Schumann said a car had crashed into a fence near the schools and “the driver and passenger fled to avoid culpability. Originally people thought it was one male chasing another towards a school.

“They were wrong.”

Schumann said the driver and passenger have not been located and the lockout “was not necessary.”

Surrey school district spokesman Doug Strachan said Boundary Park elementary school at 12332 North Boundary Dr., Panorama Park elementary school at 12878 62 Ave., and J.T. Brown elementary at 12530 60 Ave. were in lockout from 2:20 p.m. to 2:40 p.m. This means the outside doors were locked so nobody could get into the schools.

“It was a bit of a delay in dismissal,” he said. “I heard later there may have been a chase,” he said, adding the Surrey RCMP “are quick to notify us (the school district).”

According to the district’s School Safety Alert System, drills are done regularly to make sure students, staff and volunteers are familiar with and comply with safety protocols. There are lockdowns, and lockouts.

“This was a lockout,” Strachan stressed.

Under the alert system, a lockdown is called “in response to a perceived life-threatening emergency either inside or in close proximity to the school building” and a lockout “is typically called in response to a danger that has been identified outside the school or in the surrounding school community.”

An “All Clear” is announced over the affected schools’ public address system once it’s been determined a threat doesn’t exist or no longer exists.

Strachan said, of school lockouts and lockdowns in Surrey, there are “typically a dozen over the course of a school year, maybe more.

“About a dozen, 15 typically.” They are called as a precaution rather than in response to a direct threat to safety, and usually that’s all it amounts to.

The lockouts of these three schools count as one incident, Strachan said.

tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com