NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — An elementary school in the Bronx was placed on lockdown Tuesday morning as students were arriving for class.
The principal of P.S. 4 called for the action as a precaution after police said one child was overheard telling another that he brought a gun to school. Worried parents gathered outside the school as officers conducted a search.
“I have two daughters, a 5-year-old and a 7-year-old,” father Emmanuel Espada told CBS 2’s Steve Langford. “My children shouldn’t have to go through this.”
“I’m scared for my daughter, I know she’s scared, she’s only 7-years-old,” one father said. “They said somebody is in the big school with a gun and they’re not going to let parents get their kids until they get the suspect.”
“I want my kid now. What safety do they have here? None,” one mother said.
As chaos and confusion reigned, a school official made an appeal for calm.
“No one has been harmed, we had a situation that called for putting in needed safety protocols in action which is what the school did,” the school official told the crowd of parents.
The lockdown was lifted around 11 a.m.
The NYPD said a child was overheard telling another student he brought a gun to school. It turned out to be a toy gun, CBS 2’s Langford reported.
It was a Nerf gun brought in by a fifth grader with special needs, according to a local pastor, who met with the school’s principal.
“The principal and the staff state that there was never a problem with the child prior to this. It wasn’t a child in trouble or bothersome to other children,” said Rev. Joel Bauza, of Calvary Church.
Some parents were upset by how the school handled the situation.
Gail Scott, the mother of a 7-year-old girl, said there was no communication with parents.
“No email, no phone calls and that should’ve been the first thing that was done,” Scott said.
A Department of Education spokeswoman said the school followed proper lockdown procedures.
“I can’t do this. My children shouldn’t have to go through this. All these shootings we hear about everywhere, why they got to go through this?” asked parent Emmanuel Espada.