Concerned parents laid siege to a Texas high school on Tuesday after reports of a classroom shooting that ultimately turned out to be false.
The siege at Thomas Jefferson High School in San Antonio began around 1 p.m. Tuesday after police received information about a possible shooting at the school, according to a police statement.
The school was closed as soon as police entered and began to vacate the premises, but no evidence of active intimidation or shooting was found.
“Our department and the San Antonio Police Department established that there was no shooting, but then we had to do a systematic search room by room with our strike teams,” said San Antonio Independent School District Police Chief Johnny Reyes.
“We went to the location where they said the shooting had taken place and we were able to establish quickly that there was no shooting.” Instead, a dispute was found between some of the students, Reyes said, but he denied possessing or displaying weapons at any point.
But the frightened students who had already made alarming telephone calls to their parents landed en masse at the school where 29 school district officers and 58 city police officers were present.
In an attempt to gain entry into the school, a man swung his fist through the window, cutting off his hand. The police put a tourniquet on that arm. Others were handcuffed and taken into custody after physically clashing with officers, but there were no immediate reports of arrests.
The fear was the latest in a wave of such incidents since a mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas on May 24 killed 19 children and two teachers. A similar panic occurred at Heights High School in Houston on September 13 after the school received threats. Last week’s threat prompted the closure of schools in nearby districts of Austin and Houston and in California, Massachusetts, Florida, Arkansas, Oregon, Illinois, Kansas and Oklahoma.
San Antonio District Superintendent Jaime Aquino said the district needs to find better ways to communicate with parents in real time. “I’m assuming that if we didn’t have Uvalde, we probably wouldn’t have had a parental reaction. So we just have to figure it out,” he said.