NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Authorities responded to Essex Valley School in West Caldwell Wednesday afternoon after the school was placed on lockdown.
The incident began shortly after noon, according to West Caldwell Police.
Officers entered the alternative school with shields and guns drawn after someone reported a student inside with a gun, CBS 2’s Christine Sloan reported. Officers armed with semi-automatic weapons were also called in.
The school was placed on lockdown as a precaution, police said.
A room-by-room search did not turn up any weapon, 1010 WINS’ Holli Haerr reported.
Police gave the all clear about five hours after the lockdown was put in place. The New Jersey State Police and the Essex County K9 units left the scene as of 5 p.m., WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman reported.
Concerned parents rushed to the school to make sure their kids were safe.
“I just want my daughter. Prayer was the first thing I could do,” mother Valerie Chapman told Sloan. “My concern is my daughter. The not knowing is making me very upset. I came all the way from West Orange and I just want to make sure my daughter is out and safe and I’m concerned and I’m very upset because the school never notified me. I had to hear it from a bus driver and I just want to talk to my daughter.”
Throughout the ordeal, some students peeked through the windows of the private alternative school for children with behavioral and learning problems.
“I don’t know, that’s the thing. Bus drivers were not alerted so I really don’t know what the situation is but I am concerned about the students I have to take home,” bus driver Lisa Douglas told Sloan.
“There are kids with behavioral issues with some of the kids who attend here. As far as my kids who are on my bus, I don’t have any problems with them, they’re great kids,” bus driver Dajuan Holmes said.
Dogs able to sniff weapons started searching the school as cars and bus drivers were turned away.
Police said no one was hurt but an apparently emotional woman was taken out of the school on a stretcher.
Four students were led out of the school in handcuffs, Sloan reported.
Sources said the students taken into custody did not have anything to do with the lockdown but became agitated while in school during the lockdown.
They will likely face disorderly conduct charges.
The incident is under investigation.
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