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McAuliffe went into brief, precautionary lockdown Wednesday morning

McAuliffe Elementary School was briefly in lockdown Wednesday morning, Nov. 30.

Principal Matt Esterby said that the school had received information from police about a threat in a nearby residential neighborhood. As a precautionary measure, the school went into lockdown.

"(The threat) was not on our property," Esterby said. "As a precaution, we took everybody into lockdown."

The school sent out a notification to parents stating that there was an individual in a nearby residence who was threatening to harm himself.

Hastings Chief of Police Bryan Schafer said that police had received a report of a juvenile male in crisis, potentially involving a firearm. The area was secure, he said, but as a precaution, the police department evacuated a couple residences nearby the incident location and notified McAuliffe Elementary School, which opted to enter a precautionary lockdown. 

The Hastings Police Department, Minnesota State Patrol and Dakota County Sheriff's Office all responded to the incident.

"Fortunately, our officers were able to negotiate with the individual and the person came out of their own free will," Schafer said. The male was then taken to a hospital for care.

No one was injured in the incident, and police had achieved a successful result within about an hour of the initial call.

"All the credit goes to the officers on the scene and the officers who were in contact with the person in crisis," Schafer said.

At McAuliffe, the lockdown began five to 10 minutes after 8 a.m. While most students had not yet arrived for the day, some students and teachers were in the building for before-school activities, Esterby said. About 15 minutes after the lockdown began, police called the school and notified them that the situation had been resolved and that the individual in question had been transported from the area. The lockdown ended at about 8:20 a.m. Esterby said that most students don't arrive until 8:30 a.m.

Esterby said that lockdown information was sent immediately to bus drivers, who were still picking up students at the time. The buses were rerouted to the middle school and were just about to unload there when the incident ended. 

The school practices lockdowns five times a year, Esterby said. They are intended to keep students and staff at the school safe, and can be called for security incidents within the school or those occurring near school property, as this one was. During a lockdown, all school doors are locked, and students are not allowed to exit the building. 

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