A series of loud popping sounds panicked a group of Saugus High students and prompted alerts from school and sheriff’s officials Friday morning.
“Earlier this morning a school golf cart drove over a plastic water bottle and created a loud noise at Saugus High School,” an alert on the William S. Hart website said. “Many of our students, not knowing the source, reacted to the sound in fear. We want to assure you that there is no cause for alarm.”
While sheriff’s units were at a nearby location on a call around 7:45 a.m., a unit, passing Saugus High School, witnessed students running out of the school.
“He contacted one of the students and found out that they were in a panic because they heard some popping noises,” said Sgt. Lopez, who declined to disclose his first name, from the SCV Sheriff’s Station.
“The campus was always safe,” Lopez said, “and it was a false alarm.”
Once students started running, staff promptly spoke over the PA system to inform students they were safe and it was a false alarm, according to Lopez.
After the scare, students were seen crying on the school’s curbside while they waited to be picked up by their parents, according to Jodi Miller Daniels, a parent of a freshman student at Saugus.
Daniels, like many others, had her child picked up from school after the incident.
“My daughter called me and told me everyone was running from the school,” said Daniels. “Her best friend texted her telling her that she was hiding in a classroom.”
When parents arrived, office staff and sheriff’s deputies were present to explain the situation to worried parents.
“The office staff and therapists were awesome this morning,” said Rebecca Sewall Hindman, a parent of a Saugus student. “The school handled the situation well.”
On Thursday night, Saugus High School held a meeting where parents, like Hindman, could speak with a medical professional and meet security advisers. Specifically, the meeting discussed triggers and how to process them.
“Today we all had to process a really big trigger,” said Hindman.
The school district also recently put forth efforts to expand awareness of campus resources for mental health in light of a fatal shooting that took place at Saugus High on Nov. 14.