Bethel schools on soft lockdown as suspects sought in the area

By Vicki Hyatt | Oct 06, 2016

Both schools in the Bethel community were on soft lockdown Thursday about 2:20 p.m. after being notified by the Haywood County Sheriff’s Office that two individuals they were following in the area fled from their vehicle.

Bill Nolte, associate superintendent of the Haywood County Schools, said there was no reason to believe the individuals were headed for the schools, and that it was quite a distance on foot from the stop, but the lockdown procedures were initiated as a precaution.

Information from the sheriff’s office said two individuals, who were the subject of an enforcement operation, fled from a stolen vehicle in the area of Max Thompson, Murray Road and N.C. 110 about 1 p.m.

That information was passed on to the school system, at which time both Bethel Middle School and Bethel Elementary School initiated a precautionary soft lockdown where all exterior doors were secured and all who entered the campuses were closely monitored.

During a soft lockdown, classes are still conducted as usual, but students aren’t allowed to go outside. On a hard lockdown, instruction is suspended so students and staff can get to a safe place in the building, Nolte said.

“There was no imminent danger and no indication of anything threatening,” Nolte said. “We made the decision to do this as a precautionary measure.