Lockdown lifted at Pascagoula school following nearby assault

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - Students and staff at Cherokee Elementary are breathing a sigh of relief that no was harmed after violence sparked near the school building on Thursday. Pascagoula Investigators said Edward Dewayne White and his ex-girlfriend got into a major altercation across from the school on Brazil Street. WLOX News reporter Patrice Clark was inside during the lockdown.

White is charged with simple assault, 2nd offense domestic violence and resisting arrest by fleeing. The school went on lockdown twice as a precaution.

A normal Thursday morning at Cherokee Elementary quickly changed around 10:30 a.m.

"We have an emergency outside the building. Please lock your doors, close the blinds, and bring all students into a secure location," an administrator announced over the intercom.

Teachers immediately began turning off lights and guiding students to the back of their classrooms where they all huddled together. Clark was locked inside Ms. Crechele Hembree's kindergarten class.

"We had to actually lockdown once before, so they are all accustomed to what they are suppose to do," said Hembree.

"They kind of go there without a lot of direction because they practiced and they know what you expect them to do."

No one in the kindergarten class had any idea what the exact dangers were outside of the building. Still, these 5-year-olds never seemed to panic.

"Maybe every once in a while there is a whisper, but on things like that they know it is serious." Hembree said.

While the lights were off and the students were sitting in the classrooms quietly, Pascagoula School District officials sent out emergency notifications to let the parents know what was going on.

"The police department notifies us. We have our School Connect and we also have our call system that we use," Assistant Superintendent Belinda Dammen said.

After this unexpected scare at Cherokee, the final lockdown was lifted before noon. A thorough room-to-room check showed everyone was okay. The teachers then congratulated the young people for keeping themselves safe as well as their friends.

Parents can download the School Connect notification app by visiting the Pascagoula School District's web site at psd.ms under the announcements header.

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