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Incident at Park Lane Elementary School

William Penn School District                             

Community & Public Relations Office, Administration Building               

100 Green Avenue- Annex, Lansdowne, Pennsylvania  19050-2095                  




Pamela A. Bookman                                                          

Public Relations Coordinator                                            

610-284-8005 ext. 1237 – Office                                     

610-842-1728 – Mobile                                                                                          



Incident at Park Lane Elementary School



Lansdowne, PA (January 4, 2019) – At approximately 12 noon on Friday, January 4, 2019, a young man entered Park Lane Elementary School in Darby. In the lobby area, he pressed the buzzer to request entrance to the building. The employee seated at the front desk at that time gave him entrance into the main office.  At this time, we do not have a statement from that employee as to why the young man was permitted entrance.


Park Lane Principal Dr. Dawnee Watson-Bouie was called to the front office and notified that the young man was not behaving in a normal fashion. Upon arrival at the main office, Dr. Watson-Bouie asked the young man why he was there and he replied that he was looking for a bag and wanted to know if anyone brought it into the building.  Dr. Watson-Bouie stated she would make an all-call to ask if anyone had found the bag. She then escorted the young man out into the lobby and past the secured doors where he could not get entrance back into the main office or the rest of the building. At no time is there any evidence of a gun or signs of violence evident to staff or in the video surveillance.


After Dr. Watson-Bouie escorted the young man out of the main office, she called for the School Security Officer. The Security Officer and Dr. Watson-Bouie walked the building to make sure everything was secure. When they reached the back doors, they observed the young man in the baseball field behind the school and called 9-1-1. 


The police arrived and reported to the rear of the building.  An officer or officers reported over their walkie-talkies that the young man was still out in the field.  A pursuit occurred.  According to Darby Police Chief Smythe, the young man was observed by police officers with a loaded gun.  Upon notification of a weapon, Dr. Watson-Bouie put the building into a lockdown.  A letter was sent home to parents stating that the building was in a lockdown due to a suspicious person in and around the building. 


The young man was sighted earlier by our School Security Officer walking around picking up bags. The Security Officer noticed the young man was talking to someone in a Verizon Fios van and believed the young man was one of the Verizon workers. 


It was questioned as to why Dr. Watson-Bouie did not push the Panic Button which alerts all local police agencies that there is an armed intruder in the building. It was not utilized as Dr. Watson Bouie had no evidence that there was an armed intruder.


The young man has been arrested by the Darby Police Department and there were no injuries to our students, staff, or the young man. We are eternally grateful that Dr. Watson-Bouie handled the situation in a professional and appropriate fashion, and escorted the young man outside of the building and away from our students and staff. We are grateful to the responding police officers for their safe handling and apprehension of the young man.


School district administration will continue to investigate this incident – gathering additional information and statements and planning for possible additional safeguards and procedures for admittance into school buildings.