NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – On Tuesday, there was a mix of emotions from parents and students at North Little Rock Middle School after the school district said they evacuated 1200 students to the high school after reports of students and teachers becoming nauseous and dizzy.
The school district said the North Little Rock Fire Department detected the issue in some of the classrooms on the seventh and eighth-grade campus.
According to North Little Rock Fire Department dispatch scanners around 9:30 a.m. they received a call from the school that there was a strange odor inside a classroom making people sick and the campus security was evacuating the hall.
The school district said all they knew was there were low oxygen levels. Officials also said NLRFD hazmat crews also responded to the call to test the air quality.
Among the line of parents waiting to pick up their child from the high school was Sidnie May, mother of Payton Renolds, a seventh grader at NLR Middle School. May said she was anxious to pick up her son and she felt confused by the school district on what exactly was happening.
“It was just chaotic the way they handled it,” May said.
Reynolds said the entire situation was scary.
“I felt anxious and I didn’t know what was going on,” Reynolds said “It was so wild in there and it was really crazy.”
NLR Middle School eighth-grader Tyson Glover said he was confused at first by the evacuation.
“It just randomly happened. I didn’t know what was happening,” Glover said.
Glover’s mother Courtney Ingram says she was notified by the district first about the evacuation but when she called her son, her concern rose.
“I called him and said something about gas that’s a whole other level,” Ingram said.
Ingram said she does have some questions she wants to be answered.
“My hope is that they (NLRSD) get their stuff together. I mean we put our children in their hands for 8 hours a day. I want to know that my son and our kids are safe,” Ingram said.
Ingram said she was set at ease when she finally was able to pick up her son and hold him in her arms.
“I feel relieved, but I’m still concerned a little bit,” Ingram said.
Reynolds is also happy to be back at his mom’s side and says he is glad nothing bad happened.
“I wanted to get home in case something actually happened,” Reynolds said.
School officials said that they will continue to work with the fire department and maintenance staff regarding the incident.
In a statement Tuesday evening, NLRSD officials said that the seventh and eighth-grade campuses would be remote on Wednesday as fire crews and district officials work to find the cause of the odor in one of the classrooms.