Marion parents question school notification system during shooting lockdown

MARION, Ark. -- Samantha Purcell was scrolling through Facebook Thursday when she found out something from her news feed that she wished she heard instead from her children's elementary schools.

“I saw a friend posted about a lockdown at Marion High School. I commented and asked if it was just the high school or other schools. He didn’t know," the mother of three said.

She wasn’t the only one who got confused. Jenna Bailey also has two kids in the Marion School District.

"There was a Facebook post saying, 'Does anyone know which school the active shooter is at?' It was made by a parent then there were all kinds of comments. I never received any notification from the school," Bailey said.

Marion Police said schools went into lockdown during a domestic dispute that continued to the intersection of Polk Road and Service Road, where someone fired at someone else. That intersection is a few feet from the entrance of at least three Marion schools.

There was never an active shooter, but Facebook posts can misconstrue and spread falsehoods.

“I’m happy they did lock down the school to protect our [children], but at the same time, it’s irritating I didn’t know it was going on,” Purcell said.

In fact, Marion school officials posted a notice about the lockdown on Facebook, and officials said they sent out a notification text.

“The entire lockdown lasted roughly 10 minutes. We did not experience any malfunction with our notification procedures," Marion School District communications director Lynn Lampkin said.

But Bailey says she has gotten text notifications in the past; she and other parents said the system failed Thursday.

“Either there was a malfunction or a ball was dropped. One of the two,” Bailey said.

"No harm no foul today, but what if someone was near the schools and was trying to harm our children or anyone else? That’s scary as a mom,” Purcell said.

They just hoped officials would fix it so it works if they ever really need it.