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Christchurch high schools go into lockdown after man walks onto school grounds

Author
Nathan Morton, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Tue, 23 May 2023, 12:24pm
The schools which share premises have been put into lockdown. Photo / Supplied
The schools which share premises have been put into lockdown. Photo / Supplied

Christchurch high schools go into lockdown after man walks onto school grounds

Author
Nathan Morton, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Tue, 23 May 2023, 12:24pm

Two Christchurch high schools both went into lockdown at lunchtime today after a man “behaving oddly” walked onto school grounds without permission.

In separate statements to their school communities, Avonside Girls’ and Shirley Boys’ High Schools both confirmed their students were put into lockdown just after midday.

They asked parents not to come to school or phone the school during the incident.

“Please do not come to the school or phone the school as you will not be attended to and this may cause disruption to the management of this incident and could potentially place yourselves and/or our staff and student’s safety at risk,” a statement from Avonside Girls’ read.

“All further updates will be provided on the school website.”

Both schools confirmed their students were put into lockdown just after midday. Photo / George Heard

Both schools confirmed their students were put into lockdown just after midday. Photo / George Heard

A message on Shirley Boys’ High School, which shares the same New Brighton premises as Avonside said an “unauthorised person” is on school grounds.

“This school has been placed in lockdown, please follow lockdown procedures” an automatic message played on loud-speakers.

Avonside Girls High School said on its Facebook page the lockdown was “not a practice”.

Pareawa Banks Avenue School principal, Toni Burnside told NZME she was in a professional development meeting with several local school representatives when principals from both AGHS and SBHS rushed out.

Talking to the Herald, Avonside’s principal confirmed a man had wandered onto the school’s grounds without permission and was behaving oddly.

“He just walked right past reception and onto the school, so we put the students into lockdown,” said principal, Catherine Law.

The man, who was unarmed, was believed to not be known to the school, but enquiries are ongoing.

Students of both schools were evacuated onto the tennis courts as per their lockdown procedure.

Avonside Girls High School said on its Facebook page the lockdown was “not a practice”. Photo / NZME

Avonside Girls High School said on its Facebook page the lockdown was “not a practice”. Photo / NZME

Police shortly arrived, the man in question was taken away and enquiries are currently being made into the matter.

Whilst the nature of the incident has been resolved, Law said there was still a process for the school to carry out and would carry out checks with their students.

“We will take the students back into school for checks, some students will be fine and others will need a little more support,” she said.

Police are still at the school grounds.

“I’m very pleased with the school’s communication with the parents and students,” said Law.

In a statement to the media, police confirmed they responded to reports of a suspicious person who walked into a school at around 11.40am.

“The person was not armed and [nobody] was injured,” they said.

Students have made their way back into their classrooms, a “large number” of parents are waiting outside the school to pick their children up according to a photographer at the scene.

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