MEDFORD, Ore. — Yet another Medford elementary school went into lockout procedures on Monday after reports of a possible cougar sighting in the Griffin Creek area.
Last Friday, Lone Pine Elementary in northeast Medford went on lockout. On Monday, it was Griffin Creek Elementary in the city's far southwest area.
Principal Louis Dix sent out a statement to parents after the lockout procedure was over:
"Earlier this morning, there were reports of a possible cougar sighting in the Griffin Creek area. Out of an abundance of caution, Griffin Creek Elementary followed established protocol and went into a precautionary lockout at 9:34 a.m. Medford Police, Oregon State Troopers, and Jackson County Sheriff’s Office sent officers to investigate," Dix said.
According to the letter, officers who responded found no sign of the cougar and eventually gave the school an all-clear — almost a carbon-copy of the Lone Pine incident. The lockout ended at 10:03 a.m.
"Lockouts are practiced multiple times a year. Staff and students responded today as rehearsed and in an impressive manner. For the safety of both students and parents, we do not alert parents while a lockout is in progress," Dix said. "This is an emergency management best practice. Police do not want parents to come to school to retrieve their children because that could put the parent in danger and/or compromise a police investigation. Please know that your child’s safety is our top and ongoing priority and the central purpose of all of our emergency procedures."
Little more than a week ago, officers with the Medford Police Department shot and killed a cougar that had been making frequent inroads around south Medford.