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Manhunt prompts security alert at schools

By Catherine Cruz
Published On: Feb 20 2013 04:49:00 PM HST

During the frantic fears about Munet's escape, one of the major community concerns was the safety of schools in the search area.

HONOLULU -

Lockdown came early Wednesday morning  at the Kawaiahao church preschool.

Administrators asked for police presence since some parents chose not have their children remain on campus, and there was concern for their safety.

The scene that played out in this Kakaako neighborhood was similar to what was happening at another preschool a few blocks away.

"Everyone is indoors, classrooms are sealed, offices are locked down and we are fielding calls from parents," said Early Learning Center Director Lisa Uyehara.

While play toys sat untouched outside, some families opted to collect their little ones even though the odds that trouble would break out seemed remote.

"Security is downstairs, police are are right across the street, and we have a lot of parents who are police officers and we feel we are doing the right thing," said Uyeno.

Administrators at eight other public schools took extra precautions.

One Washington Middle School parent was impressed with the police response, noteing the helicopters overhead and the police patrols in the neighborhood. 

“It seems like there is a lot of police presence, so I am not really worried. I am sure my kid will be safe," said Nathan Walley.

It was just after 11 a.m. that a second police car arrived on campus and shortly after the school announced on its loudspeaker system that the campus was in lockdown.

"It is nice to know about the protocol,  with the lockdown and all, which I was not aware of.  I just put my kid in school a week ago," said Walley.

A group of Maryknoll students out with their teacher on an off campus excursion made sure to stay together and arrived safely a short time later.

With heightened security at campuses from Manoa to Pauoa, workers at some nearby businesses were also on edge.

"I am going to tell a bunch of people in the area. It’s kind of scary," said mechanic Jeff Kamiya.

The lockdown also delayed the release of students at some students.

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