Society

Student's 'Fresh Prince of Bel Air' Rap Triggers School Lockdowns

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Many people can’t resist finishing the words when they hear, “In West Philadelphia born and raised.” However, the theme to the Fresh Prince of Bel Air got one student in serious trouble at school recently.

The drama started when a receptionist at an eye doctor’s office called Travis Clawson, a 19-year-old Ambridge Area High School student, to confirm an appointment and got Clawson’s voicemail. His voicemail message was him rapping the Fresh Prince of Bel Air theme and the receptionist interpreted the part that says “shooting some b-ball outside of the school,” as “shooting people outside of the school.”

The interpreted threat was reported to police and schools across Beaver County were placed on lockdown until Clawson was eventually found. He was later located at Ambridge High and detained for three hours. Police eventually determined that the whole incident was just a big misunderstanding.

Despite the threat being a false alarm, the Ambridge Area School District Superintendent Erv Weischedel sent a letter home to parents insisting that the "false alarm" could be seen as a positive.

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"As always, the safety of our students and staff are at the forefront of our concern," he wrote. "While this situation can be considered to be a false alarm, it was an excellent opportunity to test our emergency procedures. The procedures in place were efficient and quickly implemented and proved to be successful."

However, Clawson’s father is not taking the situation as lightly.

“An innocent young man was embarrassed,” he told the Beaver County Times. “How is he supposed to go back to school and face his classmates?”

Ambridge police officer Mike Natale told WPXI that Clawson was “afraid and embarrassed.”

"Obviously staff at the doctor's office was embarrassed about the whole thing too," he continued.

James Mann, acting police chief in Ambridge said he believed “everyone acted appropriately.”

“Our first concern is the safety of kids,” he said.