A reporter for KSDK in St. Louis, Mo., caused a panic Thursday while researching a story on school safety. The St. Louis Dispatch reports:

An undercover television news story to test security in local schools triggered a lockdown Thursday at Kirkwood High, angering parents and raising questions about media ethics.

Students and teachers at the school were huddled in classrooms with the lights off for about 40 minutes Thursday afternoon after a man came into the school and asked to speak with security, then left.

The visit was one of five made by the television station to schools in the region aimed at exposing lapses in school security.

The school alerted parents of the situation via social media and telephone.

This is Ginger Cayce. KHS is on lockdown. We do not believe there is any imminent danger. Here is what I know. An man came in and stated that he wanted to talk to security. He gave his name and cell number. When the secretary left to get the SRO, the person left the office and will not answer his phone. This initiated the lockdown.

KSDK issued the following statement.

NewsChannel 5 recognizes the importance of safety in our schools. As part of a continuing investigation this afternoon, we visited five local schools.

One of our employees assigned to this investigative report visited Kirkwood High School. He entered and walked his way toward the office, asking a teacher for directions after a few minutes. There, he asked if he might discuss the school’s security. He identified himself by name and gave the office his phone number.

When the security official could not be reached, our employee left the premises without escort.

Approximately an hour later – after our visit – the high school was put on lock down. This lock down certainly was not the intent of our visit.

We will report this story tonight on NewsChannel 5 at 10 p.m.

NewsChannel 5 will continue to be vigilant when it comes to the safety of our schools and your children within.

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