MCC superintendent says school wasn’t notified of Hansen Road incident.

May 14, 2015

By Rob Alway. Editor-in-Chief.

SCOTTVILLE — While law enforcement was looking for two suspects involved in an armed home invasion on Hansen Road, just west of U.S. 31 Thursday afternoon, Mason County Central Schools operated pretty much business as usual. Superintendent Jeff Mount said had he been aware of the situation, just one mile directly north of the school, earlier, he probably would have put emergency protocols in place.

“Unfortunately the MCC School District did not receive any notification from law enforcement regarding this incident,” Mount said. “It was only through social media and news that we were even made aware of anything happening. All contact with law enforcement were initiated by us.

“We were not asked to notify parents or change our ordinary school business as I was told the school was not under any eminent threat by a Michigan State Police trooper. On our own, we decided it would be best to not run our buses into the area, communicated our plan to the state police and then contacted those families impacted.”

Mount said a Scottville Police Department officer was in contact with Middle School Principal Mark Olmstead in the afternoon, but the communication was initiated from a separate issue. “The topic of what was going on on Hansen Road got brought up, but it wasn’t why the officer was speaking with Mr. Olmstead,” Mount said.

Mount said that he actually drove out to the area of the crime scene to speak with law enforcement. He said he had a conversation with a state trooper at U.S. 31 and Decker Road and told him his concerns. The change in bus route involved six students, he said.

“The trooper told me that Hansen Road was open to traffic and that there wasn’t really any immediate danger. But, we still felt it was best to use caution and change the bus route.”

Mason County Sheriff Kim Cole said the school was contacted, however. He said that task was given to Scottville Police Department. Mount said, however, the Central Business Office was never notified, which is what emergency protocols call for.

Mount said that for almost two years a Mason County schools emergency coordinating committee has been planning emergency protocols. But, those protocols didn’t seem to happen in this case.

“This incident is behind us and we can only move forward and learn from this,” Mount said. “Law enforcement had a job to do and I understand their top priority is searching for the suspects. We just need a better communication system in place. I am confident we can work with our law enforcement agencies and central dispatch to get this accomplished. They are the best to work with and we all need them to ensure the safety of all.”

Mount said he had been in communication with Ludington Area Schools Superintendent Andrea Large when he found out LAS had put out an alert to its parents. He said they both discussed how to proceed with future communications in such situations.

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