South Florida Sun Sentinel | By Chris Perkins, Brooke Baitinger and Angie DiMichele | October 14, 2021
Blanche Ely High School was placed on a precautionary lockdown for about 90 minutes Thursday afternoon.
An Alyssa’s Alert was issued about 12:30 p.m. Thursday, taking advantage of a two-month old application designed to warn school employees and law enforcement to a potential emergency. The app connects directly with a 911 communications center, and users can send messages to a dispatcher and photos from their phones.
Broward Sheriff’s Office Spokesperson Miranda Grossman said the school was placed on lockdown “as a precaution for an incident nearby” and that there was not a threat inside the school grounds. Grossman could not provide further details about what the nearby incident entailed.
As of 2 p.m., police said the lockdown had been lifted. A spokesperson for the School District said lockdowns are typically determined by law enforcement agencies “due to police activity near or on the school’s campus or at the discretion of administrators as needed for the safety of students and staff.”
Delvin King, an alumnus of Ely who was near the school grounds shortly after the lockdown was lifted, said there were still about 20 police cars at the school and that a Sheriff’s Office deputy on scene told him police had been searching for a potential suspect in the area.
King said the scene shortly before the 2:40 p.m. dismissal was chaotic, with dozens of buses scattered around the area, unable to pull into the bus loop that was closed off as police search the surrounding blocks. At least six streets in the school’s area, at 1201 NW Sixth Ave., were blocked off Thursday afternoon, King said, toward Hammondville Road.
By 3 p.m., the school had largely cleared out. About a dozen students waited outside the campus, police cars still cruising by. The roads were no longer blocked, though officers were still stationed on the side of the road.
Max, an 18-year-old Ely student who declined to give her last name, said the school does “code red drills” monthly, so many students were not worried by the precautionary lockdown. The only indication that something might be out of the ordinary were the police sirens students heard from inside the school.
“We all thought it was a drill,” she said. “But then there were no announcements coming on saying code green meaning the lockdown was over.”