GREENSBORO, N.C. -- A robbery prompted sheriff deputies to lockdown two schools in Guilford County Wednesday afternoon.
Millis Elementary and Ragsdale High Schools were on lockdown for just 20 minutes.
The crime had nothing to do with the schools -- but it happened less than a mile away.
"Law enforcement says there is something that could spill over, we'll go into lockdown or the principal or someone on school campus sees an imminent threat then they will go into lockdown immediately," explained Greggory Slate, School Safety Officer, Guilford County Schools.
"Security is to the utmost importance to us after Columbine and Sandy Hook, and some of the things that have gone on around the nation, we've tried to learn from those things," said Captain Robert Elliot, Guilford County Sheriff's Office.
Elliot leads the school resource program for the Guilford County Sheriff's Office. He says their motto is "better safe than sorry."
He said, "We will lockdown a school in a heartbeat if we feel there is a threat and as soon as we clear it, we will open it back up again."
Slate says each lockdown is serious - especially when students might be at risk.
"I think every single one of them is a serious issue because we take every last one of them as a threat and we don't want to take a chance. Classifying one of those as not so serious, that would be a huge mistake," said Slate.
Parents we found were divided on the 'better safe than sorry' approach. Some said schools - and law enforcement - need to take into account the fear factor of lockdowns.
"I think there can be too many lockdowns. I don't know if there have been too many lockdowns but if children are in a lockdown situation, they're going to be frightened. I think you have to think twice before you frighten children," said parent Ray Huger.
Stephanie Bolton added, "The first reaction is what's going on? Is everyone safe or not?And then the second reaction is at least it's closed, the kids are inside and whatever is going on outside, they cant get in."
"I appreciate it, I feel like it's better to be safe than to be sorry they do a great job protecting our children and I hope they continue to do that," said Jane Lindsey, Parent.
Slate and Elliot says the students are well-prepared and know what to do in a lockdown situation.
Elliot said, "The lock-downs are fairly orderly, kids are used to it now, we try to do a lot of training."
GCS parents are notified after every single lockdown -- even if it's just a drill.
It's the same policy for Winston-Salem Forsyth County Schools.
As a parent, it's natural to want to go to the school when you hear about a lockdown, but the best thing Elliot and Slate say you can do is stay away.
"If parents go rushing there, that's going to create a whole lot of chaos," said Slate.
He added, "Parents need to make sure they stay tuned - so to speak - to what information is coming from the school and from the district. It's not in the best interest to go rushing to the school because that could put lots of folks in danger."
For more on this story and others, follow Morgan on Twitter: @mchightower.
WFMY News 2