KANSAS CITY, Mo. — After a stabbing Tuesday at Northeast Middle School, worried parents in Kansas City, Missouri, gathered outside to pick up their children.

Students were dismissed by floors, starting with the fourth floor of the school.

“They were supposed to have a lockdown drill, so we thought it was a drill,” student Chasity Spencer said.

But what took place at the middle school Tuesday morning was far from a drill.

“Some girls were on their phone, and they went on the news, and I went on the news and it was all over the news,” Spencer said.

Spencer said she and her eighth grade classmates soon learned the lockdown they were under was real.

A fellow student stabbed a seventh or eighth grade boy with a knife while they were in a restroom. The injured student is hospitalized with what police are calling life-threatening injuries.

“It makes me feel a little anxiety, anxious,” Spencer said.

Many of the students were texting their parents during it all. That’s how Misha Lewis ended up at the school.

“She sent me a text when I was at work like around 9:16 a.m. explaining what happened, explaining one of her friends was stabbed,” Lewis said.

Lewis said parents got this email from the school explaining how it would dismiss students. Many parents waited in a group off Chelsea and Thompson Avenue; some were in their cars.

“I was just like, ‘Oh my god,’ and started panicking,” Lewis said. “I instantly left my job, you know, and I left work and came here.”

Now their students are home safe, but parents have one main concern.

“It’s like how did he get in school with a knife? What’s going on?” Lewis said. “Basically, how was he able to enter the school with a knife — with metal detectors? I know the metal detectors work because I came to the school with accessories on and it went off.”

Kansas City Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Mark Bedell released the following statement to families and staff Tuesday afternoon:

“As we communicated with you earlier today, a Northeast Middle School (NEMS) student was seriously injured this morning. NEMS immediately went into lockdown, and staff worked quickly to ensure the safety and security of all of our students. The injured student was taken to Children’s Mercy Hospital by ambulance and remains in critical condition.”

“KCPS is cooperating fully with the Kansas City Police Department, and this incident remains an active investigation. We are working in partnership with law enforcement to safely reopen Northeast Middle School tomorrow. We will have additional security officers in the building when students and staff return in the morning – as well as increased security protocols. Additionally, all our students at Northeast Middle School will receive personal support from our trained clinicians, counselors and trauma team members tomorrow.”

“Our counselors and clinicians are in schools every day working with students on numerous support systems, positive behavior interventions and conflict resolution when needed. We continue to provide additional training, resources and support for our security officers, all through a trauma-informed lens. Today, that training helped our NEMS security officers work alongside our school staff to provide life-saving first-aid until paramedics could arrive.”

“As there is an active police investigation, we may be limited in what we can share over the next few days. But as both superintendent and a KCPS parent, I’m committed to collaborating with our Northeast Middle School community and our entire Kansas City community to continue to support our students’ emotional and behavioral health. Please know that safety above all else will always be a focus of our administrative team, our Board of Directors and our entire staff. We will continue to lead with a high degree of transparency as we strive to maintain safe learning environments for all of our students.

Dr. Mark T. Bedell, KCPS superintendent