No such person was found inside the school at 50 Veterans Memorial Highway. But parents said they weren’t kept informed throughout the search, which caused them to become unnecessarily concerned for the safety of their children.
Cobb police were dispatched to the school around 10 a.m. following a report of an armed person inside.
Approximately 85 police, EMS and other public safety personnel responded to the scene. Every available Cobb police officer was called to the scene, along with officers from Cobb Schools campus police and Sheriff’s Office deputies. They searched room to room inside the school.
Officer Mike Bowman, a department spokesman, said no armed person was found and the school was put on lockdown as a precaution.
The report was falsely made by a student who has been identified, said Doug Goodwin, spokesman for the Cobb County School District. He wouldn’t say what kind of consequences the student faces except that he or she will be disciplined according to the school district’s code.
Parents began gathering across the street from Lindley Middle soon after reports surfaced that a gunman could be inside.
Many were frustrated with what they called a lack of communication on the part of the school and police.
Sandra Hilario waited for more than 40 minutes to find out the condition of her eighth-grader, Pamela, before police addressed parents.
“They’re just saying there’s somebody in there with a knife,” Hilario said. “We don’t know.”
Police officers told the group of anxious parents no one had been harmed, but that did little to ease minds, or calm nerves.
Erin Matthews, too, criticized officials for not keeping parents informed. She said she receives multiple emails each week from the school where her daughter, India, is in the eighth grade about things like the dress code, but hadn’t been told what was going on inside the school.
Goodwin, of the school district, said automated text messages and phone calls were sent “as soon as the school had enough information to provide.”
“Our first priority was making students safe and No. 2 making sure parents had the right information,” Goodwin said.
Parents were first told to pick up their students at Mt. Harmony Baptist Church, about half a mile from the school. After an officer said they would need to return to the school to pick up children, an angry throng of parents surrounded him demanding to know more information.
Blanca Orellana had tears in her eyes as she picked up her eighth-grader, Pedro Montesinos.
“We don’t know what’s going to happen. I hope nothing happens,” Hilario said. “I’m just scared.”