Students and parents are outraged after an unannounced active-shooter drill resulted in chaos at a Florida high school.
Video and images from inside Lake Brantley High School in Altamonte Springs have gone viral after the incident.
On Thursday morning, officials announced a “code red” over the school’s intercom, saying that it was not a drill, according to BuzzFeed News.
Lake Brantley High School teachers received this message warning of an active shooter this morning. Nowhere does it mention it was just a drill.
I’m hearing from students who say they were hiding in closets and praying for their lives. https://t.co/EcRLHhhz4M pic.twitter.com/wscNFmlGq0
— Michael Williams (@michaeldamianw) December 7, 2018
A second announcement made during the school’s lunch hour reportedly attempted to clarify that the incident was a drill, but students could not hear the announcement clearly, and believed there was an active shooter on campus. Students also distributed a screenshot of a text alert about the supposed active shooter.
Students reported stampedes, mass chaos, panic attacks, screaming and crying as they tried to leave the school. A number of injuries were reported, according to BuzzFeed News.
“I saw a bunch of kids running to their parents and sobbing because they thought they were going to die,” one senior told BuzzFeed News.
I had three panic attacks back to back today because of this drill. I had to be checked out and taken home, and on my way out I saw multiple people hugging family and sobbing, and kids who had fled being herded back to campus. Next time take into consideration the aftermath of it
— Madison Salter (@MadSalt016) December 7, 2018
An email to parents from principal Trent Daniel obtained by BuzzFeed News called the code red drill “standard practice,” and appeared to blame students sharing information on social media for the chaos.
“After the Code Red drill was over and classes resumed as normal, there was a campus disruption caused by a social media post,” Daniel wrote. “The post indicated a possible threat to the campus.”
Daniel said that the second issue is being investigated as a “disciplinary matter.”
Parents are now calling on the school to apologize for how the drill and aftermath were handled, telling the Orlando Sentinel that the unannounced drills could have lasting negative mental health effects for students.
“It’s more than just protecting children from bullet holes,” said the mother of one student. “It’s protecting them from the anxiety and trauma they’re now experiencing.”
School safety and methods to deal with active shooting incidents on campuses has been an increasingly fiery national debate since the Parkland, Fla., high school shooting in February.