Concern over strange hitchhiker puts Carmel Middle School on lockdown.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
The presence of a hitchhiker on Carmel Valley Road prompted Carmel Middle School administrators to put the school on lockdown for about 20 minutes this morning.
Several weeks ago the same man, a Carmel Valley resident apparently in his 20s, had come onto campus and approached some kids, according to CMS Principal Ken Griest.
“He didn’t do anything—he was kinda mentally ill—but he was asking if he could play with them," Griest says. "It was just Frisbee, but he was kinda creepy."
At the time, the man entered the school office and asked for an application to play with the students, Griest says. Administrators called the Sheriff's Department, and officers removed the man from campus.
This morning, when the man was seen hitchhiking near the middle school, the assistant principal again called the Sheriff's Department, which recommended locking all classroom doors.
Three sheriff's deputies surveyed the campus for about 20 minutes before declaring the school grounds all clear, Griest says. The lockdown was lifted around 8:20am, while the students were still in class.
Fifteen minutes later, school officials sent notifications to parents and made an announcement over the PA system, explaining that the lockdown was precautionary and there was no reason to be concerned.
“The kids all have cell phones," Griest says, "so it’s better to get the accurate information.”