Following a bomb threat that forced an evacuation at Mandarin High School in Jacksonville, Florida, on Thursday, students had to face a second day of disruption because of the threat of violence.
According to a report by News 4 Jax, the school’s principal, John Kniseley, sent an automated message to parents on Friday morning and announced that students will be searched with metal detectors as they enter the school because of a text exchange suggesting a possible school shooting.
On Thursday, the students were asked to evacuate to the school’s football stadium in 91-degree heat, where they had to sit for several hours while the authorities inspected the school building. According to WOKV News, the school’s entrance was blocked and parents were not allowed to pick up their kids. The dismissal was also delayed by 20 minutes.
The news of the second threat panicked students and parents alike, and many students expressed that they were caught “off guard,” per News 4 Jax.
“I wasn’t really expecting there to be another threat today, because there was already one yesterday,” a student named Francesco Gonzalez told News 4 Jax.
“We weren’t really sure what was happening. A lot of people were upset. A lot of people were calling,” he added.
The second day’s threat frustrated some parents because of the way the school handled the situation. One parent, Julie Feleke, told News 4 Jax that despite Thursday’s bomb threat and evacuation, she still decided to send her kid to school because she thought it would be safe. However, upon getting the message from the principal on the second consecutive day, she was forced to pick the child up from the school.
“I didn’t like how the situation was done with the bomb threats yesterday,” she said.
Another parent named Anthony Edwards – who had to take two consecutive days off from his workplace to pick up his daughters from the school following the threats – told Action News Jax that the situation was “pure frustration and ridiculous.”
“Whoever thinks this is funny, it’s not funny. They’re diluting the seriousness of the situation,” Edwards said on Friday.
According to the report, attendance at the school on Friday was thin because of Thursday’s threat.
Following the incidents, Duval County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Diana Greene sent an automated message to parents and apologized for the inconvenience caused to the students and parents alike because of the “stressful day,” per WOKV News.
“I want to apologize to you and your children that things did not go as smoothly as we would have preferred them to. In such situations, it is often difficult to anticipate how events will unfold,” she said in the voicemail message, as quoted by WOKV News.
“While today was not our best day as a school district, we will use what we learned to be better in the future,” Dr. Greene added.