FRESNO, Calif. (KGPE/KSEE) – A more than 20-hour standoff that started Thursday night and ended Friday afternoon with police eventually leaving the scene forced the closure of the nearby Kastner Intermediate School.
Staff and police officials agreed that police activity was too close to the school to deem it safe for classes on Friday.
“Public safety is number one,” said Fresno Police Chief Paco Balderrama.
“We did make that hard determination to go ahead and cancel classes today. Given that ongoing police activity that was so close to the school, it was the best decision to make for our kids and their parents,” said Clovis Unified’s Kelly Avants.
Despite the school district’s warnings and notices to parents in the early morning, seven students still made it to school.
“We had started sending messages to parents about 6:20 this [Friday] morning, sharing on our website, pushing on social media, sharing with our media partners as well. We had about seven students here at Kastner who were under staff supervision in the gym with an officer present,” said Avants.
Parents made the trek to pick up their children from the campus since the surrounding area was safe. But with police activity so close to school grounds, officials agreed the best thing to do was to cancel classes.
Clovis Unified school buses were told to keep driving past the school since there was no safe drop-off zone.
“With how close this campus is, we didn’t our kids to be at all involved with anything peripheral to that,” said Avants.
Lincoln Elementary which shares a field with Kastner Intermediate was open for instruction as normal.
Parents said off-camera that they understand why staff and officials made the decision to close the campus, especially with the search just yards away.