Jacksonville, Florida. Westside High School was placed closed Friday morning following a report of a “potentially dangerous situation with an alleged firearm on campus,” a Duval County Public Schools spokesperson said.
An anonymous tip has been received that an individual dressed in black and carrying a pistol was under the stands at the football stadium, a spokesperson told News4JAX.
In response, the school used its standard procedures and went to close Code Red, which is when no one is allowed inside or outside the building.
“Normal procedure. “Everyone in the area was checked and searched, and no firearm was found,” DCPS spokeswoman Tracy Pierce said.
When the police arrived to investigate, they found no weapon.
The school remained at Code Yellow for the rest of the day, which means there is limited and controlled movement in the building.
The county said families have been notified, and parents are allowed to check up on their children early if they want to.
The panic came just days after a deadly mass shooting at a Michigan high school.
While no gun was found on the Westside High campus on Friday, the situation frightened many parents, and many came to retrieve their students. A line extended from the door once Code Red’s lock was loosened.
Several parents, including Erica James, have received text messages from their students that have left them in a panic, thinking about recent events in Michigan.
He said, Mom, I don’t know what’s going on. Please pray for me. And I said: Is this now? “Yes, it’s today,” James said, and I said, “I’m on my way.”
James said she rushed to school to pick up her son, a sophomore. She said that she not only picked up a student at West Side High School, but also decided to withdraw her other students from their schools as a precaution.
“It’s scary. I still have the tremors. I still feel nauseous,” James said. “Even just seeing him, I’m still scared, trying to keep him together. Mom over there crying. It’s an awful feeling.”
Gweniece Gibbs received a text message from her new son saying “Someone has a gun on campus.” She said it was petrified.
“I sent him a prayer. And I told him, you know, to pray, and that was about that at the time, because I didn’t know what to do,” Gibbs said.
Some parents said that their concern was that they heard from their students before they received any communication from the school. There is a reason, Pierce said.
“The staff, principal, and leadership in the building’s first priority is the safety and security of students,” Pearce said. “They will make sure these people in the building are safe and secure before we get to communication.”
This is what students’ text messages will often reach before the school or district is notified of an emergency on campus, Pierce said.
Several parents said they had not been notified by the district of the closure. This is likely because the parents’ contact information has not been updated with the school, Pierce said.
He said if you want to make sure you don’t miss important information like this, contact your child’s specific school to make sure they have the correct and up-to-date information on file.
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