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No Spanish speakers made available for parents during lockdown at Lake Worth Middle School

Calls, emails were made in Spanish to parents
Posted at 5:24 PM, Mar 03, 2023

LAKE WORTH BEACH, Fla. — Parents lined up Thursday behind yellow police tape following a precautionary lockdown at Lake Worth Middle School.

Many of the parents at the school are Hispanic and speak limited English. During the alert, parents franticly asked for any information about their children and were left seeking answers.

"No information for the people," a parent named Christopher said. "Too many kids [are] scared in the school. Nobody speaks Spanish, only speak English."

The School District of Palm Beach County said 37% of its student population is Hispanic.

WATCH: Parent unhappy with lack of Spanish speakers during Lake Worth Middle School lockdown

Parent unhappy with lack of Spanish speakers during Lake Worth Middle School lockdown

RELATED: School lockdown highlights need for Spanish-speaking school police officers

To inform parents who speak Spanish about what was going on at Lake Worth Middle School, the district sent out an email in Spanish and English.

They also said they made several calls in English and Spanish, telling parents their kids were safe, and they didn't have to come to the school.

But of course, many parents did show up at the school. Many complained there was no one there to speak with them in their language.

Palm Beach County School Police Chief Sarah Mooney explains the focus of police officers during a code-red alert at a school.
Palm Beach County School Police Chief Sarah Mooney explains the focus of police officers during a code-red alert at a school.

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The school district told WPTV they had Spanish-speaking officers at Lake Worth Middle School on Thursday.

"I think we had several officers who speak Spanish that were on scene. However, during a code-red situation, their focus is not on the outside of the campus, Chief Sarah Mooney with the district police department said. "Their focus is what's going on the inside of the campus. I think what we ran into yesterday, you had people on the exterior of the school that wanted information in real-time but our officers at that time are going to be focused on taking care of the situation at hand. And as soon as we have that secured, we'll get our information out accordingly."

Mooney said it's difficult to get information to people when their main concern is neutralizing a possible threat.