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Lunch to Blame for Why KSDK Staffers Didn't Stop Kirkwood High School Lockdown: NYT

lunchksdk.jpg
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"Let's take a long lunch. What could go wrong?"
When Kirkwood School staff called KSDK NewsChannel 5 earlier this year to confirm that the stranger who'd wandered on campus was actually a reporter and to prevent a full-blown lockdown, they couldn't get an answer.

Turns out, everyone was out to lunch.

Thomas Williams, Kirkwood's superintendent, says the station explained to him that all the people who could have identified the reporter's identity were taking a midday meal when the school called, according to the New York Times.

See also: Furious Over Kirkwood Lockdown Stunt, Rep. Stacey Newman Calls Out KSDK in New Bill

Here's how the New York Times puts it:

[Kirkwood] Staff members called his phone number and it went to his voice mail, which identified him as a KSDK employee. When the school called the station to confirm, the station would not do so, even though school officials said they would otherwise have to order a lockdown...After initially defending its report, KSDK apologized to Mr. Williams, who said the station told him that the people who could have verified the reporter's identity were at lunch when the school called.

KSDK is not commenting on this story and did not confirm whether staffers were at lunch. News Director Mike Shipley previously told Poynter that the station returned the school's call after only a ten minute delay, by which time the lockdown had already begun.

But Kirkwood says it called the station long before the lockdown looking for answers. When KSDK asked Kirkwood Schools spokeswoman Ginger Cayce why it took an hour after their reporter left for the school to go on lockdown, Cayce says: "We were trying to confirm with Channel 5 that this was a reporter."

See also: 9 Investigative Reports KSDK Should Work On Now After That Epic School Safety Story

Undercover reports testing safety are nothing new. After the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, a Tampa television reporter was "detained, questioned and scolded by federal agents" after leaving a Ryder truck parked outside of a federal building to test first responders' response, according to the New York Times.

"But in St. Louis," the Times reports, "something clearly went wrong."

What went wrong? Apparently, lunchtime.

Follow Lindsay Toler on Twitter at @StLouisLindsay. E-mail the author at Lindsay.Toler@RiverfrontTimes.com.

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16 comments
Jessica Hoemann
Jessica Hoemann

Please don't tell me the HS was locked down because of provel ;p

Jim Harvatin
Jim Harvatin

Someone needs to invent some kind of portable phone for them !!!!

Tom Bober
Tom Bober

Because we all know news stops happening between noon and 1pm.

George Cameron
George Cameron

And there's the RFT, stirring up shit that was over and done with. Must be a slow news day.

Ruth Susanne
Ruth Susanne

Why does no one focus on the fact that the school allowed someone in the building and then lost track of them? That is the story...child safety!!

Jennifer Elder Quinn
Jennifer Elder Quinn

John: so do they which is why this is such a lame excuse. Some are even issued work phones... I'd venture to say those "out to lunch" had a issued work phone at the time. Dog eat your homework too, KSDK?

Kyle Jobin
Kyle Jobin

LOVING KSDK getting the type of exposure it deserves.

Carmen Vinyard
Carmen Vinyard

Who Cares? Does the Kirkwood school pay ksdk salary? Bad timing and good for you for following protocol. today is Tuesday....carry on

Dallas Keller
Dallas Keller

This story is just about a battle of who screwed up worse. Jesus, that is some bad protocol on both parties.

John Barry
John Barry

Huh, over here in Europe we have things called mobile phones. Everyone here has one. They're pretty popular. One can be reached even at lunch (no matter the restaurant)!

Tim Wheatley
Tim Wheatley

After the Kirkwood City Hall shootings a few years back I would think the Kirkwood Schools would have a better system to prevent outsiders from walking into a school.

Tim590
Tim590

After the Kirkwood City Hall incident a few years back, I think the school doors would be locked from outsiders.

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