What proved to be unfounded threats against summer school students at Palo Verde High School in Summerlin caused panic for both parents and students for nearly two hours Thursday afternoon.
Christina Stark said her 13-year-old daughter, Alice Berkley, texted her shortly before noon informing her that students at the high school were on a “hard lockdown.”
Stark rushed to the school and found it surrounded by a swath of Clark County School District and Metropolitan Police Department officers. Crime scene tape stretched across several entries of the school at 333 S. Pavilion Center Drive.
“Terrifying,” Stark said. “Terrifying. I had to immediately be here.”
In the wake of a May 24 massacre at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, in which a lone gunman killed 19 students and two adults, dozens of parents congregated in front of Palo Verde, frantic to find out what was happening.
Nick D’Agostino and his wife, Tina, said their 16-year-old son, Nick, told him the school had received an emailed threat, and that police were using dogs to search the school.
“They’d been getting searched since 11:40 and they’d been on lockdown for well over an hour before we ever even got a notice,” D’Agostino said.
Ashlee French said she also received a text from her son, Nathaniel Olsen, 14, stating the school was on a lockdown and that students were cowering under their desks.
“Mom I love you. If I don’t make it, I love you,” the text from her son read.
She rushed to the school but couldn’t get any information from authorities. Her son informed her he and other students were in the dark, hiding under their desks as police searched the school.
“I’m considering home schooling,” French said.
The school district later issued statements indicating the threats were made on social media.
“The lockdown was lifted after police completed their investigation,” the district said in an alert sent to parents. “Officers deemed the social media reports unfounded.”
Students then started streaming out of the school just before 2 p.m. Multiple parents, some with tears in their eyes, were observed hugging their children.
“They checked us, they had the dogs come in, they checked all of us, and that’s mostly it,” said student Nasir Tucker, 17. “I was a little scared.”
His mother, Kendra Cross, was incredibly thankful her son and all of the students turned out OK.
“It’s scary as hell given the incident that just happened in Texas,” she said.
Contact Glenn Puit at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0390. Follow @GlennatRJ on Twitter.