It was a scary afternoon for hundreds of students at a Northland high school after their school was placed on lockdown following a threat.
"Basically all we knew is what few children had texted their parents which was that they were on lockdown," parent Julie Quick said.
Worried parents raced to Park Hill South High School Wednesday afternoon as word got out that the school was dealing with a threat. The school is located off of Interstate 635 and Missouri Highway 9.
"My heart drops and my mind is racing and I want to know that my child is safe. I got a text from him that said, 'we are on lockdown.' It was very matter of fact," parent Tami Carolan said.
Ninth-grader Zaine Lindenberg and his friend were in the cafeteria when the principal suddenly told them to head to the gym.
"I was scared a little, but I called my mom and told her I was OK," Lindenberg said.
Other students said they were more scared because they didn't know what was going on or if they were in any danger.
"I was sitting there then everyone gets up and starts running to the gym. I didn't know what's going on," student Alex Berhenke said. "I was kind of nervous, but I called mom and she said, 'text me and keep me filled in on the info' and I said I loved her and she said she loved me too."
The school district's public information officer said the lockdown was started about 12:05 p.m. as a precaution after someone phoned in a threat. Police and school officials wouldn't say what exactly the person said because the incident is still being investigated.
"We were in a lockdown, kids were locked in classrooms, hiding from the doors and everyone waited for police to investigate and search the school," Nicole Kirby with the Park Hill School District said.
As Riverside police patrolled the area to investigate, students also hid under their desks and lights were turned off.
The school district alerted parents through their email and text system and reassured them that no one was hurt.
Allen Smith said he was trying to keep his daughter calm after he got a text from her.
"She said that, 'I'm under a desk for an hour and I'm freaking out,'" he said.
After a couple of hours, police determined the school was safe, lifting the lockdown and letting students out at their normal time.
Now parents like Smith want answers and hope police track down the person responsible for the scare.
"If it was a prank, it's a rotten prank at this day-in-age with fear and school and shootings. Something should be done about if it's determined to be a prank," he said.
Park Hill High School, located about seven miles away off of Northwest Barry Road and Congress Avenue, was also placed on hold. Officials explained that a school placed on hold is one degree less severe than being placed on lockdown.
Days later, the Crime Stoppers TIPS Hotline and the Riverside, Missouri Police Department are still looking for the person responsible for the anonymous threat. Information leading to an arrest in the case could be eligible for up to $1,000 in reward money and Park Hill South High School is offering an additional $200.
Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers Greater Kansas City TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS (8477), TIPS may also be submitted electronically at KCcrimestoppers.com, or by texting TIP452 and you information to 274637 (CRIMES).
Copyright 2013 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
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