Jacksonville mom says son traumatized after active shooter drill left him locked out of classroom

A Jacksonville mother told News4JAX that her fifth-grade son is traumatized after an active shooter drill at school went wrong.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Jacksonville mother told News4JAX that her fifth-grade son is traumatized after an active shooter drill at school went wrong.

The school district said the incident is a perfect example of why it has safety drills.

The mother said her son had just left the classroom when a “Code Red” went off. She said a mishap at the classroom threshold left her son in a vulnerable position that could have cost him his life.

Since last week, Mary Allison Sumner’s 10-year-old son has been using a knee scooter to get around. She said surgery left him unable to put weight on one of his feet.

He’d been using it four days when his school went into an active shooter drill but she says at the time, neither the students nor teachers knew if it was a drill, or if a gunman was stalking the halls.

“It’s just absolutely terrifying to be in this situation,” Sumner said.

She said her son had just left his classroom to go to the restroom when “Code Red” started blaring through the speakers as soon as the door shut behind him.

“He said his friends, who are two of his best friends and knew he had just stepped out, so they didn’t even hesitate, they swung the door open, they said come on let’s go inside, come on, come on, and he tried and the teacher turned him down and told him that he needed to get out and go back to the bathroom,” Sumner said.

She said he then scooted down the hall and around the corner to hide in a bathroom stall.

“If it was real, he could have turned that corner and been face to face with a gunman,” Sumner said.

According to Sumner, he hid in a stall and shook with fear.

“His handlebar would turn and clink the toilet and he said that he was scared that if it was real, the gunman was going to hear him,” she said, adding he has become a little more withdrawn since that day. “My son could have lost his life and that’s what it comes down to.”

In a statement, a spokesperson for the school district said, “We are so sorry to hear of this parent’s concerns and know that school leaders have been in contact with the parent to address these concerns.”

The district said its active shooter response plan is confidential, but they can share that part of the response is not to open classroom doors during a lockdown.

“While our understanding of what occurred in this specific lockdown differs from the parents, our review of this situation suggests there were teachable moments in the attempt to comply with the best safety standards,” the district said.

Sumner said her son doesn’t feel safe going back to that teacher’s classroom and she wants them fired.

She said her next step is going to the school board.

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