FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - Police gave the all clear to Calvary Christian Academy in Fort Lauderdale after a report of shots fired, which turned out to be a false alarm, Monday.
School officials said it appeared that someone had accidentally activated the panic button on a safety app called School Guard 911.
After the user pressed the button, parents and authorities were alerted via text message.
Fort Lauderdale Police then arrived to the scene and swept the campus room by room while parents waited outside and students huddled on the floor inside in silence.
The church is located at 2401 W. Cypress Creek Road.
Parents were allowed into Calvary Christian Academy to pick up their children, at 4 p.m.
Cellphone footage shot by a student showed a large police presence as students were allowed off campus following the hour-and-half-long lockdown.
During the commotion, some students said they were trying to watch the news to get a better sense of what was going on.
Students also said that black pieces of fabric were placed over windows, which is the school’s protocol in case of an active shooter.
“We just moved to the corner of the class where no one could see us. The doors were locked,” said a student. “There was paper, black paper, on the windows, so nobody could see through. It was really freaky because there was like — we could hear the officers running through the hallway.”
Many said that they were scared. One parent told 7News that the situation shook their nerves.
“It’s terrifying, it’s terrifying. It’s getting out of control,” said parent Becky Wells.
“My heart was like a thousand miles per hour. I couldn’t wait to get here,” said a parent.
A group could be seen forming a prayer circle and asking for God to protect their children.
“I mean, I know God’s in control, so I’m trying to not fear anything and just, you know, stay focused on Him,” said parent Mary Buitrago, who led the group prayer.
“It’s overwhelming, but He is the answer,” said a parent, pointing to the sky. “But I know our God is so strong, and he’s watching us.”
The school sent text messages to parents informing them that a sweep of the school was underway before giving the all clear.
“Oh my God. Everybody here is having an anxiety attack, you know? It’s crazy,” said parent Nancy Fuentes.
Police later confirmed that the incident was a false alarm and no shots were ever fired at the scene.
There was a large police presence at the school and parents said although they were terrified, they are glad that there was such a great response.
Officials are now working to determine if the app’s false alarm was a human error or a glitch in the system.
“We’re trying to see, is it that someone had that wrong code? Is it human error?” said the school’s principal, Jason Rachels.
The app’s president and founder, Nate McVicker, said the app worked the way it was supposed to but that he is working with the school to try and figure out exactly what triggered the alert.
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