‘You don’t believe it’s real’: Parents, students react to Philip Simmons lockdowns

Published: Sep. 16, 2022 at 9:54 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 17, 2022 at 5:28 AM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

BERKELEY COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - After two juveniles were arrested near Philip Simmons High School Friday afternoon, high school students and parents feel like the school handled the situation well.

The Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office responded to the high school late in the school day about a possible weapon on campus. This caused all three Philip Simmons schools to be placed on lockdown. Parents said they were notified via email, text and phone call quickly after authorities arrived.

Kendra Christmas, a mother to a 15-year-old Philip Simmons student, said she felt like the school district did a great job communicating with parents.

“I think at first you are kind of stunned and you don’t believe it’s real, but my son was like, ‘Mom we are really good and we’re safe in here,’ which was comforting,” Christmas said. “So, I didn’t rush to the school. I came close by and waited until we got the go-ahead to come.”

Students said that once classrooms were placed on lockdown, they remained seated for about an hour before gathering in the corner away from windows.

“They just said that we were in full lockdown and said that no one could leave the room,” Landon Robb, a student at Philip Simmons, said. “We locked the doors and had the blinds shut. Traffic surrounding the schools was backed up for at least an hour as students were released from the lockdown.”

Dennis Schimpf is a father to two Philips Simmons High School students. He said the situation taking place so close to home is crazy.

“You don’t think about it every day,” Schimpf said. “In the national news you hear about it happening and it’s really crazy to think about that. You know, kids are walking around with guns like that.”

Despite the lockdown, students and fans gathered Friday evening to watch the Philip Simmons homecoming football game. A 15-year-old student, Que Vaugag, said people were freaking out, but he was not.

“I mean, you can’t stop what’s going to happen,” Vaugag said. “Life is life. You never know.”

As the lockdowns were lifting, the sheriff’s office announced that two juvenile students were in custody. Overall, three guns were recovered in the incident, according to officials.