The News & Observer
A principal trying to prevent walkouts during immigration rallies inadvertently introduced a lockdown so strict that children weren't allowed to go to the bathroom and instead had to use buckets in the classroom, an official said.
Worthington Elementary School Principal Angie Marquez imposed the lockdown March 27 as nearly 40,000 students across Southern California left classes that morning to attend immigrants' rights demonstrations. The lockdown continued into the next morning.
Marquez apparently misread the district handbook and ordered a lockdown designed for nuclear attacks.
Tim Brown, the district's director of operations, confirmed that some students used buckets but said the order to impose the most severe type of lockdown was an "honest mistake."
"When there's a nuclear attack, that's when buckets are used," Brown told the Los Angeles Times. The principal "followed procedure. She made a decision to follow the handbook. She just misread it."
In some cases, teachers escorted classmates to regular restroom facilities, students said.
Appalled parents have complained to the school board. Brown said the school district planned to update its emergency preparedness instructions to give more explicit directions.
Parents and community activists asked the school board at its April 5 meeting to explain the principal's decision. They also sought promises that the lockdown wouldn't be repeated.