RIVERSIDE, Mo. — Students and staff at Park Hill South High School have been allowed to leave following a phone threat on Wednesday afternoon.
According to Park Hill School District officials, the threatening phone call came in around noon on Wednesday. District spokeswoman Nicole Kirby says that the school contacted police and then immediately put the school into lockdown, which involved having everyone stay where they were, locking the doors and keeping away from doors and windows.
Kirby told FOX 4 that there were no threats found in the school, although she could not elaborate on the nature of the threat – whether it involved a bomb, firearms or other weapons.
“The person that called told us something that we took very seriously,” said Kirby. “It was enough that we needed to keep the kids in lockdown and we needed to make sure that we had law enforcement there making sure they were safe.”
Freshman Zaine Lindenbeog says that he had no idea what was going on when his principal told him to go to the gym.
“(They) finally told us there someone made a call, threats, someone had a gun at the school,” said Lindenboeg. “I was kind of scared a little bit. I called my mom let her know I’m okay.”
Students were finally released from the school around 2:15 p.m. – the school normally dismisses at 2:00 p.m. on Wednesdays.
Parents like Gwen Royale, who has two children at the school, say that they are sick of threats against kids at school.
“I think they just want publicity and I hate the fact that it keeps happening, and they keep getting publicity,” said Royale. “I don’t know what to do about that, but it does make me very angry.”
During the lockdown, the school issued a statement on their website which read, “Everyone is safe at Park Hill South High School, which is locked down due to a phone call reporting danger. The Riverside Police Department is investigating. We will provide more information as soon as we have it.”
A text alert later sent to parents around 12:45 p.m. said “Park Hill South is locked down because of phone call reporting danger. Riverside police are investigating.”
A K-9 unit from the Kansas City, Mo., police department was sent in to help with the investigation, a law enforcement source told FOX 4.
The situation apparently led to rumors of a gunman on campus among students and staff.
A student contacted FOX 4 and said students are saying “there are reports of a gunman,” and that “Riverside police are on their way.”
The same student said there are about 200 students inside the gym waiting for the “all clear.”
The student described people rushing into the gym during lunch and school officials pulling down bleachers to accommodate the extra students, saying, “many students just want to know what’s going on. Some are concerned and scared. And some are just hanging out and laughing.”
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