Forge Valley Sheffield: School responds after social media reports of intruder armed with machete
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A Sheffield school has issued a statement, after rumours circulated on social media claiming an intruder armed with a machete had made their way onto school premises while pupils were present.
Forge Valley School on Wood Lane in Stannington went into 'lockdown' on Friday afternoon (September 29, 2023), after the school received information that a person armed with a 'bladed instrument' had been seen on Wood Lane, the road on which the school is located. South Yorkshire Police (SYP) were also called out to the incident.
Pictures began to circulate on Snapchat, and other social media sites, purporting to show an individual wearing a balaclava and armed with a machete who had made it onto school grounds.
Both Forge Valley School and SYP have now confirmed that the incident did not take place on school premises.
In addition, while a teenage girl was searched in connection with the incident, officers 'did not find a weapon and were unable corroborate the reports'.
Speaking to The Star, Headteacher at Forge Valley School, Dale Barrowclough, said: "At around 2.45pm on Friday the 29th September, the school was informed, by a member of the public, that a person had been seen on Wood Lane with a bladed instrument.
"The school immediately followed procedures and went into lockdown. I would like to thank all staff at Forge Valley School for keeping our pupils safe and also South Yorkshire Police for their very quick response. Once the individual had been apprehended, and it was safe to do so, the school ended the lockdown. The school is now investigating this isolated incident to establish the facts, and will, if necessary, take appropriate action."
A SYP spokesperson said: "At 2.50pm on Friday (September 29), officers were called to concerns that a person had been seen with a knife on Carlby Road in Sheffield.
"A teenage girl was stopped and searched, and officers searched the surrounding area, however no knife was found and officers were unable to corroborate the reports."
Concerned parents have told The Star of the fear they felt when they began to receive information from their children as the school went into lockdown.
The parent, who does not wish to be named, said: "We, as parents, knew something major was happening due to text messages from our children, saying the alarm was going off and they were being locked in classrooms by their teachers. The incident was thought over, then they were locked down again."
They continued: "There were a good 15 minutes or so where I had genuine thought that there was a terrorist attack at school, all I had to go on is a text message saying that there is someone in school with a machete and a phone call from my wife who had been sent something similar.
"I reply asking if my child is ok, and I don’t get a reply for nearly twenty minutes, presumably because at this point teachers then told the kids not to text or post anything, but the damage was done and I was literally pacing my office waiting for some kind of update. Eventually the update came from my child first, then an email from school."
Another parent, who also wishes to remain anonymous, said their child came home 'terrified' following the incident.
They said: "My child was at school and came home terrified, saying the teachers did not know what they were doing, let them out of the lockdown only for the alarm to go off again and have to go back into their classrooms which then had desks and chairs put behind the doors.
"I didn't know what was happening I just got a text from my daughter saying the alarms were going off and someone was in school with a knife.
"Eventually when she was on her way home I got an email from school saying there was an incident but its over now so they are letting the kids home after they had a quick video assembly. I was beside myself for a good half hour not knowing what was happening."