HONOLULU (KHON2) — Waipahu High School caused some panic Thursday when they incorrectly announced there was an active shooter on campus while police were searching for armed suspects in the area. Officials are now apologizing for the mistake.
School officials were notified by police at 10:39 Thursday morning that there was an active police situation near campus involving an armed suspect, which prompted a lockdown.
But Waipahu High says an incorrect message was sent out over the school’s loudspeaker. At 10:40 a.m., students were told: “This is a lockdown. There is an active shooter on campus. Look at your telephone monitor for updates.”
3 minutes later, a revised announcement was made: “This is a lockdown. Follow lockdown procedures. Check your phones and Lotus Notes for more information.”
8 minutes after that, an email was sent to all staff confirming there was no active shooter situation, but the school remained in lockdown.
It wasn’t until 22 minutes after the initial message that another announcement was made over the loudspeaker saying: “This is not an active shooter situation. I repeat this is not an active shooter situation. Check your email.”
In a letter, the principal says there was no active shooter threat and the initial verbal alert was an error. Principal Keith Hayashi says he takes full responsibility.
The Department of Education sent a statement saying:
“What happened at Waipahu High School today is unfortunate and we apologize for the panic and stress it caused the school community. The Department’s leadership, as well as its safety and security teams, will work closely with Waipahu High and the rest of our schools to reevaluate our systems and retrain our staff to ensure that this will not happen again.”
The school also says it will have additional counselors available for staff and students traumatized by the false alert.
We asked to speak to an official but a spokeswoman from the DOE declined our request for an interview.
To view the full letter sent home to parents, click here.