KINGWOOD, Texas (KTRK) -- A middle school student in Humble ISD was arrested on campus after setting firecrackers off during a school dance, which caused panic and chaos as students and staff ran out of the building.
The firecrackers were set off about 15 minutes before the dance was scheduled to end at Kingwood Middle School on Friday night, according to school officials. The loud noise in the dark gymnasium had students and staff fearing the worst. Video circulating online shows people running and screaming.
Ursula Elmore has a seventh-grade daughter at the school and was chaperoning the school dance.
"The kids were screaming. They were running, calling their parents, texting their parents that someone has a gun and they are shooting at the school dance," Elmore said. "So they were terrified. Terrified."
Elmore said there was already a line of cars outside since the dance was close to ending, but other parents rushed to the school after getting terrified messages from their children.
"There were some parents who got the texts from their children and drove in a panicked state while their children are running on the street," Elmore said. "So, it was really just a bad situation."
Humble ISD sent an email to parents that night after viewing surveillance footage, confirming it was firecrackers, and that Humble ISD police would be investigating.
On Monday, Humble ISD school officials confirmed the student who was responsible for the chaos was arrested on campus and charged with a class B misdemeanor.
"Interviews were done, and the evidence was presented to the Harris County District Attorney's Office. And the district attorney filed a charge of disruption of an event or gathering," Jamie Mount with Humble ISD said. "What kids think of as a prank is actually a crime. It's completely unacceptable to scare people. Safety is not a joking matter."
Elmore said she would like to hear how the school is going to prevent this or something worse from happening. She believes adding officers at school events could be part of the solution.
Days later, students are still feeling anxiety over what occurred. According to Mount, 36 students took advantage of the school's counselors on Monday.
"One of my fellow PTA moms had tears in her eyes, even though we realized it was firecrackers at that time," Elmore said.
Both parents and school officials hope this will show students the serious consequences that come from poor decisions.
"I believe the kid should be held accountable, because they knew everyone would be scared, and they knew kids would run out. So they need to take responsibility and accountability for that," Elmore said.
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