Wednesday, May 22, 2024

114 West Elm Street
Graham, NC 27253
Ph: 336.228.7851

How can Williams High School have a lockdown when not all doors fully lock?


QUESTION: Williams High School had a hard lockdown last Wednesday. Many of the classrooms at Williams have doors that don’t lock. This is unacceptable. Are we waiting until someone gets killed?

ANSWER: Dr. Helena Thomas, principal at Williams High school, confirmed in response to an inquiry by The Alamance News that “no teachers reported door problems [last] week and was certain they would let her know,” ABSS chief operations officer Greg Hook told the newspaper Friday.

Thomas had informed the school system’s maintenance department late last year that some interior doors failed to lock, Hook said, adding “those were all repaired quickly.”

Williams High School went into a lockdown last Wednesday morning after receiving a report that a gun might be on campus, according to ABSS public information officer Les Atkins.
Atkins issued a statement Wednesday morning, emphasizing that the lockdown at Williams High School was “a precaution…after administrators received a report of a possible gun on campus” and that police were on scene questioning students.

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Burlington police officers searched the entire campus – both inside the school and throughout the grounds – but were unable to locate a gun or any other type of weapon, Atkins later confirmed for The Alamance News.

Meanwhile, keyless “carded” entry locks are scheduled to be installed at Williams High School as part of the $4.6 million in renovations that were included in the $150 million bond package voters approved for ABSS in 2018.

While those keyless lock systems have yet to be installed, Hook told the newspaper that he hopes to have the keyless entry locks installed “during summer.”

“At Williams, due to the age of the doors, this project will require extensive door replacement because the carded entry system must be paired with the correct type of door system,” Hook said. He also emphasized that only school employees will be able to enter the high school using the keyless entry system, meaning students will not be issued magnetic “swipe” cards or access codes that would allow them to enter the school.

Instead, keyless entry systems are programmed to unlock automatically at the beginning of the school day; lock after the first bell rings; and automatically unlock for class changes and at the end of the school day, according to an earlier explanation by Dr. Todd Thorpe, who preceded Hook as the school system’s COO.

THE PUBLIC ASKS: Have a question about a matter of public record? Call The Alamance News at (336) 228-7851; write to the newspaper at P.O. Box 431, Graham, NC 27253; or e-mail

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