CENTRALIA, Wash. -- Just one day after a mass shooting on an Oregon college campus, police in Centralia had to lock down a high school Friday after an officer found a threatening note in a classroom that claimed a shooter would strike during an assembly.
Hundreds of parents spent several hours across the street from the school waiting for word that their child was safe.
Because of what happened in Oregon, officials in Lewis County said they had to treat the threat of violence very seriously.
“Everything you see happening right now is happening to ensure the safety of your students,” Centralia High School Principal Joshua Lowe said to throngs of worried parents on Friday afternoon.
Some moms and dads only learned about the threat from their own kids.
“She just told me, 'Mom, do you know what’s going on at the school? They have us on lockdown,'” said parent Jami Rivas.
“My son had texted my daughter and said there was a shooter at the school and they had them on lockdown,” parent Lisa Arteaga said.
At about 10 a.m. Friday, a school resource officer found a note in a classroom. The note said a student planned to kill others during Friday night’s homecoming assembly.
Bomb-sniffing dogs and police officers swarmed the campus.
One student snapped a screenshot photo of security cameras inside the school and shared it online. Police said the picture showed one of their officers responding to the threat but the image sent parents into panic.
“The pictures were taken of a screen shot of our monitors,” said Lowe. “The pictures you see are law enforcement officers.”
“I was crying on my way here just because of what happened yesterday and you just never know. It’s a small town but you just never know,” said Arteaga.
By late Friday afternoon, school officials slowly lifted the lockdown, placed kids on buses and shuttled them across the street to be reunited with parents.
Officials so far haven’t found any weapons inside the school.
Parents just hope the letter wasn’t some sick copycat hoax.
“Well, if that’s true, that’s really sad considering what happened yesterday,” said Arteaga.
“If it was my kid I’d whip their butts,” Rivas said.
More than 1,000 students were in class on Friday. School officials said students would be allowed back into school on Saturday to retrieve personal items left behind.
Just to be safe ,the school district canceled Friday night’s homecoming game.