Parents rushed to Lakeland High School in Rathdrum on Wednesday morning after inaccurate reports of gunfire sent the school into a lockdown.
Two teachers heard what they thought were gunshots during a passing period, said Lakeland School District Assistant Superintendent Lisa Sexton.
They called a lockdown and multiple law enforcement agencies responded.
“As one of those agencies was responding they too heard what sounded like gunshots, so there was a second call out,” Sexton said, in a press conference after the incident.
After the second call, more agencies, including the FBI, responded.
After clearing the school and a search of the entire campus, there was “no evidence at all in the school that there were gunshots,” Sexton said.
“At no time were our students unsafe today,” Sexton added.
The sound could have been roofing nails from nearby construction, Sexton said.
It was the first time the school district had a potential shots fired call to one of their schools, according to Sexton.
The district sent an email to parents well before law enforcement activity concluded. Lakeland Superintendent Becky Meyer said in the letter “no evidence of any threat has been found.”
But even after the email went out to parents, a large police presence remained. Parents waited nervously on the side of the road near the school grounds.
Angie Wylie was just up the road from the school when she got a text about the lockdown.
By the time Wylie arrived on scene, emergency personnel were staged across the street, SWAT was entering the high school and ambulances were almost continuously arriving, she said.
“You know they always practice the lockdowns. They’re really good about practicing the lockdowns and letting us know that they’re practicing,” Wylie said. “When they say it’s not a practice, somebody actually heard something, and then you come around the corner and it’s lit up like this … you want to know what’s going on.”
Wylie’s 17-year-old son, Tristan Fortuny, is a junior at the high school.
“I know our police are right on the ball,” Wylie said. “I know that if it was something actively going on inside, they wouldn’t be standing out here.”
Crystal Hanson’s 18-year-old daughter, Patricial Marshall, texted, asking, “Is it real?”
Hanson got in the car and drove down to the school to be nearby and help protect her daughter, Hanson said.
This isn’t the first time Hanson has been involved in a potential shooting, she explained as she pulled up her sleeve to reveal a tattoo dedicated to the Las Vegas shooting.
Two years ago, Hanson was at the country-music concert that turned into one of the deadliest mass shootings in recent history.
Hanson’s daughter knew how difficult it would be for her mother to hear Marshall might face the same trauma that she did after the shooting. So Marshall texted her sister-in-law to keep from freaking her mother out.
“She’s going through my daughter-in-law because she knows all this – it’ll freak me out,” Hanson said.
Hanson said she was just thankful it was a false alarm.
Police officers began to visibly relax on the other side of the fence and informed parents that they could reunite with their kids soon at about 11 a.m.
“I’m just waiting to pick her up and get her out of here,” Bill Maryott said of daughter, Anisa, a sophomore.
When Maryott heard about the lockdown and reports of shots fired inside the school, he left work to see what was going on.
“I’m not just going to sit around,” Maryott said.
He described how he’d had a weird feeling the last couple of weeks making him a bit uneasy.
“It’s all just manifesting,” Maryott said.
By noon, children from the nearby North Idaho STEM Charter Academy were loudly laughing and playing at recess.
Principal Trent Derrick came on over the loud speaker to tell students that class would proceed for the rest of the day with a regular release at 2:35 p.m. But students left as parents picked them up from the school office, the reunification point chosen by the school.
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