ARLINGTON, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – For the second time this week, a North Texas school campus sent into a panic after someone set off fireworks.
Carter Junior High in Arlington was placed on lockdown Thursday afternoon after students reported hearing what they thought was gunfire.
“Everybody started running around to go hide, but we couldn’t find a place to hide,” says 8th grader Ashley Samaniego.
Samaniego says she thought there was a school shooting. “Cause everybody was calling their parents.”
Many of them left their jobs and homes to huddle in the cold outside the school, waiting for the all clear.
“I’m just thinking the worst with everything that’s been going on,” says parent Monica Pello. “I don’t even know how I made it. I was so nervous the whole way.”
“My granddaughter called me and told me that there was shots inside the school,” says Irma Morales, who found the massive police response simultaneously reassuring and worrisome. “All this that’s going on– that doesn’t look like fireworks.”
The fear was just as real, on the inside.
“I was actually crying because I didn’t want to die in front of my…,” says Samaniego. “I wanted to see my siblings, my mom, my dad, my family.”
According to Arlington Police, a school resource officer encountered students in the hallway who were running after hearing what they thought was gunfire.
It was standard protocol to put the building on lockdown and call for other officers, although a subsequent caller–likely a teacher– told officers that they thought the sound was fireworks.
“We do know that it was in fact fireworks that were lit and set off inside the school,” says Sgt. Michael Chitty with Arlington Police. “There was no gunshot. No gun involved in this incident at all and now it’s being turned into a police investigation. We’re trying to get that student identified and charges will be filed accordingly.”
It was just this week that Arlington Police along with the FBI launched an awareness campaign called, Fake Threats/Real Regret, to remind students that threats to schools will be taken seriously. And now they’re asking parents to get involved in heading off the next one.
“If you’re a parent to a student, you need to sit down and have a conversation with them and let them know this is very serious, this is not childish games,” says Sgt. Chitty, these are serious events with serious results.”
“It’s just scary to go through that,” says Adriana Garcia, a Carter student. “You should never have to go through that.”