PHS goes into lockdown over hoax

Permian High School, 1800 E. 42nd St., went into lockdown about 2 p.m. Monday after a report of someone on campus with a weapon. However, it turned out to be a hoax.

Odessa Police, Ector County Sheriff’s Office and the Texas Department of Public Safety responded in force.

University of Texas Permian Basin dispatch received a 9-1-1 phone call stating there was an active shooter at Permian High School. UTPB notified all law enforcement agencies in this area, and all responded to PHS. Upon receiving the call, ECISD police placed the school in lockdown, an emergency response in which all people inside the school take shelter within a locked room and all campus activities stop. All safety procedures were followed and officers were able to clear the school of any threat, deem it safe, and release the lockdown.

Law enforcement confirmed there was no shooter at Permian and there were no shots fired at the school, which was a claim made by the 9-1-1 caller, a news release detailed.

The next steps will include an investigation to attempt to identify the caller who made the false statements.

“We have learned at least two other school districts in West Texas experienced some type of phone threat, and those were confirmed as hoaxes as well,” the release stated.

“We want to thank our students and staff for their quick, focused response to this situation. We want to applaud our law enforcement agencies for their response and their determination to keep our schools and our communities safe. And we want to thank PHS parents who, being worried for their children, remained patient as the campus was cleared and the district was able to report back to them that all was safe,” the release said.

Parents came to the campus worried about their children and students who were on their way back to class stayed outside. But many of the school’s more than 4,000 students were still inside.

Chief Communications Officer Mike Adkins said there was early dismissal Monday. They did a regular class change and then ran dismissal as usual, Adkins said.

Many of those outside said they weren’t told anything except that there was someone on campus with a gun.

Junior Jaheim Kelly said he and some other students were about to go back to class, but were told to stay outside. He said most people were inside.

He said he was more confused than afraid because it “pretty much came out of nowhere.”

Sarah Govea, the mother of a PHS senior, said she came all the way from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center downtown to Permian because she was really worried.

Govea said her son didn’t answer his phone and she guessed they weren’t allowed to use them.

Eslianny Jerez, a freshman, said she was scared and called her mom.

“She already knows. I texted her,” Jerez said.

A similar incident took place last year, but it was not a hoax.

In August 2022, an Odessa Police Department release detailed that this caused a large police presence at the school by various law enforcement agencies. A juvenile male was detained and found to be in possession of a firearm, and there were no reported injuries or damage, the release said.

According to a message sent to parents, law enforcement was releasing students room by room. It asked parents to be patient as “your student’s safety is our top priority.”