CHILLICOTHE — A bullet was found Monday morning in a classroom at Illinois Valley Central High School. That prompted a police investigation and a lockdown of the campus.
Such is life in modern-day America, according to the IVC superintendent. Even in a community of only about 6,000 people.
"It's scary for all of us," Chad Allison said after the three-hour lockdown ended. "No one wants to deal with the threats and the potential of threats that have happened across the country. It can happen about anywhere."
The lockdown happened about 8:30 a.m. in Chillicothe. Classes for the 650 or so IVC students began about one hour earlier.
According to Allison, the bullet was found in a classroom that doubles as a pathway to other classrooms, based on the school building's pod-like layout. A passing period between classes had taken place when the bullet was discovered.
Allison theorizes the bullet fell from the jacket of a student who might have been firing guns recreationally over the weekend. The superintendent said there is no evidence the bullet came from an external source.
Chillicothe police were called, and they determined the ammunition was live, Allison said.
During the subsequent police investigation, those outside the building were not allowed to enter, according to Allison. Students were secured in whatever classrooms they were in when the lockdown began, and hallways were to be empty.
The lockdown ended about 11:15 a.m., following the conclusion of the investigation. Staff met with students to explain what happened and to answer questions.
"There was a time when we kind of tried to keep some of this stuff quiet," Allison said. "It's not that time anymore.
"Kids are a big part of keeping our building safe. We told the kids, 'Thank you, and if something is out of line, let a teacher know.'"
Classes resumed per usual after that.
As for the owner of the bullet, Allison said he or she need not be shy.
"There's certainly a student that had that round and is probably concerned, 'What are the cops going to do?'" Allison said. "We'd certainly like that student to come forward."