Kirkwood Lockdown Spurs Public Safety Bill

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JEFFERSON CITY- Rep. Stacy Newman, D-Richmond Heights, presented a bill Monday to the House Crime Prevention and Public Safety Committee that would make it a felony to make threats against school security or intentionally make false threats and cause fear in order to expose security risks.

This bill is in response to the media blunder caused by KSDK, a St. Louis TV station that while investigating a story about security measures in high schools, caused Kirkwood High School to go into lock down for more than an hour on January 16. 

"We're hoping that a bill will be passed by the state legislature," Kirkwood Mayor Art McDonnell said.  "It will prevent TV stations or any other person who would like to to play a joke or hoax on a school or public institution, or test our security, and we feel that this is an opportunity for the legislature to make this a criminal offense."

According to Kirkwood Public Schools Superintendent Tom Williams, the school district lost approximately $20,000 dollars because of the lock down.

Kirkwood parent Jennifer Wilton was appalled at how the TV station conducted the whole investigation. 

"Initially, I was really really angry that they even did this at all," Wilton said. "Once I found out the facts of the situation, that the school had been trying to contact the news station, that the station wouldn't identify the reporter or confirm, I felt like it was deliberate. I felt like they wanted to cause the lock down."

The committee did not vote on the bill Monday.