PORTAGEVILLE, MO (KFVS) - Schools in Portageville, Missouri were on lockdown on Thursday, December 7 after a report of a man with a "suspicious object."
According to Superintendent Michael Allred, four high school students were walking outside on Thursday afternoon, headed into the cafeteria shared by the middle school and high school. They reported seeing a man walking in an alley near but not on school property.
The students claimed the man pulled an object out of his backpack that could have been a handgun, but they weren't sure. They say the man held the object up, flashed it at them and then put it back into his backpack and walked away quickly, heading east away from school property.
The man was described as a white male wearing a grey hoodie and jean shorts and carrying a black backpack.
According to Allred, staff members were outside at the time to watch students as they walked from building to building and saw the man but not the incident.
He said they immediately put all schools on lockdown as a precaution and will remain on lockdown until the end of the school day, which is 3 p.m. for the elementary school and 3:12 p.m. for the high school.
The middle and high schools are joined and the elementary school is located behind them.
Parents were notified by the district's text alert system.
This calmed some parents because the school was keeping them up-to-date.
"That was a scary situation," said Jackie Townsend. "First thing you want to do is come up here, but then you hear it's on lockdown and there ain't nothing you can do so you just have to wait and listen."
"Unfortunately your mind just goes to the worst," said Charlotte Johnson.
Allred said the man never got on school grounds.
Police Chief Ronnie Adams confirmed they have not found the man and police are still searching for him.
The school district contains 692 students.