Nearly a thousand students have been asked to stay in their classrooms with the curtains closed after a false report of a gunman outside their school.
Staff at the Manchester Health Academy in Wythenshaw imposed a lockdown after reports of a man outside with a gun around 9.10am today (Tuesday).
A police and armed police helicopter went to the scene and the staff and students were ordered to stay in their classrooms as the search for the “armed” began.
Parents have been informed of the incident and urged to stay away.
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However, about 60 parents went to the school located on Moore Road.
Shortly after 11am, Greater Manchester Police said in a statement that it believed the report was a hoax despite officers remaining at the scene.
After the drama, pupils were allowed to go home on an intermittent basis, with 10th and 11th graders leaving first from 1.30pm.
One parent, who declined to be named, said, “My son texted me to say the helicopter was over the school. I texted my daughter at school and she said they don’t tell them anything except what one of her friends there said. He’s a guy with a gun.”
“I was a bit worried so I decided to go down. Obviously I wanted to check on my daughter, how she was. She was very scared at first. I didn’t know if it was a terrorist attack or what. I told her to prepare to hide.”
Another father said: “My daughter first texted me at 9:48 am saying ‘School is closed but let me phone, there is a SWAT team outside.
“She continued to assure me she was fine, they said ‘I have to go.’” The next contact I had was to text me around 10:15 a.m. saying her class was too noisy and she might not be able to text anymore at around 10:30 she said I have to close the curtains.”
Another said: “While I was at school earlier when all of this was going on, another parent told me that her kids were told to gather in one corner, and that was just as my daughter told me they were told to close the curtains.
“I could see from outside the school all the curtains closing at the same time, it was a scary sight.
He added, “They just sat in the classroom all morning with the curtains closed without knowing why. They said the teachers don’t know what’s going on either, some teachers even thought it was just training. I’m glad they’re okay, thank God.”
A statement from the school read: “This morning we were approached by police officers who were responding to reports of an incident in which a man they were concerned about claimed to be near the school.
“As a result of police directives, the school was closed. The police maintained a presence on site as a precaution while investigating the matter. As a school, we acted quickly on the advice given and students were asked to remain in the classrooms until the matter was resolved. Police have since confirmed that We would like to thank the parents, caregivers and of course our students for their calm approach in an unusual but very challenging situation.”
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A GMP spokesperson said: “At approximately 9.10am this morning, police received a report of what is now believed to be a fake caller claiming that there was a man with a firearm outside a school on Moore Road.
“Officers attended and it was determined that there was no man carrying a firearm in the area.
“Investigations are ongoing.”