Red Goes Wrong

Berkshire Elementry’s lockdown brings about panic reminiscent of Uvalde, Texas.


Amy Rodriguez

Berkshire Elementary School

Amy Rodriguez, Features Editor

On the sweltering afternoon of Monday, August 15, as children and teachers alike sighed with relief at the sound of dismissal, a voice came on the intercom and the hearts of 1,053 students dropped. Berkshire Elementary School, located at 1060 South Kirk Road, had gone into a code-red lockdown.

“We were here and we heard the noise, like I said, bang, bang…and from that point on is when we got a little nervous and we started running inside to see what was going on,” parent Yeimar Irizacarry said.

A code red is issued when there is an imminent danger at the school. The parents of the children trapped in the school were in panic. Many of them had already been in line to pick up their children and knowing they were so close but could not protect them was upsetting. Seeing their children being walked back into the building rather than leaving caused a surge of panic, the tragedy of Robb Elementary fresh in their minds. “They called my son’s name to come to me and the lady pulled him back in line and was like, no, get back in the building,” parent Alexis Heine said in an interview with WPTV.

“It was just a code red and then we were all hiding and I just heard police sirens go flashing,” fifth grade student Jonas Velez said.

However, this panic was nothing compared to the uproar that occurred after reports of an unconfirmed gunshot were heard. Parents began calling 911, and dispatchers had to tell them to calm down despite the tangible fear of the parents. It was later confirmed that no shots were fired in the vicinity; however, Fire Rescue was still called.

“In today’s society, we have to be able to quickly and professionally assess what’s really going on,” security expert and former federal agent Tim Miller said.

After the admittedly unsatisfactory job the local police did at the shooting in Uvalde, parents had become untrusting in the protection of the police department. Taking the safety of their children into their own hands, many guardians jumped the fence, shouting and causing a rise in tension between the parents surrounding them.

“Parents jumped the fence, rushing through to get their kids…we’re gonna protect our kids. We’re not going to wait for someone to do it for us,” Darwell Wright said.

Fortunately, it was later discovered that the code red was because of a domestic violence situation in the neighborhood in order to gather her belongings. The school district had been notified of the occurrence, and later of the alleged gunshots. The code red could have been initiated by either the school itself or local law enforcement. Normal procedure calls for a code yellow, as the danger was only in the vicinity of the school and not an on-campus threat. On that note, the neighboring school, Palm Spring Community Middle, located 0.8 miles away, never went on lockdown.