ARLINGTON, Texas - Classes are canceled at Timberview High School in Arlington following a shooting on campus.
After such a traumatic day, counseling services are available for students, staff and families at the Word of Truth Church on Webb Ferrell Road in Arlington, as well as at the Mansfield ISD Center for Performing Arts.
Virtual counseling is also available from 11 a.m. until noon. For more information, visit https://www.mansfieldisd.org/news-events/newsroom/news-content/~board/district-news/post/update-about-timberview-high-school-situation.
For some students, the frightening series of events played out close to where they were standing.
"Next thing you know, I looked out to the left of me and I see like the glare of a gun," said Damion Paulhill, a Timberview student.
"I was in the hallway and then all of a sudden I just heard, ‘Gun, gun! Go, go!’" said Miriam Moore, another student.
Those two students were among the hundreds who were bused to the Mansfield Performing Arts Center after police lifted the lockdown on campus.
Worried and relieved parents were there waiting to pick up their children.
"We heard gunshots and I was just like ‘Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh.’ So, we all ran to the other side of the classroom. We heard glass breaking and he continued to shoot. And I called my mom and I told her I love her. I love her. I hung up the phone because it was time for me to stop talking because – it was time for me to stop talking," said Chasity Turner, a student.
"It’s been very scary for us," said Celina Lopez, a family member.
"I was nervous. My heart was pounding. My wife’s heart was pounding. She was crying," added Ontario Hewitt, Sr., a parent.
Good Day FOX 4 talked to Dr. Jessica Gomez, the executive director of the Momentous Institute, about the lingering emotional impact of school shootings. Wednesday's shooting was terrifying for Timberview students and their parents, as well as others in the community.
"As we start to enter our new normal given this pandemic and the stress of all of this, it’s a sad reminder of something that was really plaguing many of our schools and communities of this reality of tragedies like shootings that were happening. So, it’s a heavy morning for all of us," she said.
Dr. Gomez said it’s already a time when mental health needs among youth and adolescents is high, especially for those youth who have been disconnected and out of their routine for so long.
"This is another event that is really causing stress not just to our educators, administrators, therapists who are part of the silent front line. So I think that we really need to be watching out for signs in our children and how to support them, how to support educators and how therapist can continue to address the mental health needs of the community at large," she said.
She advised parents to look out for any changes in their kids’ regular routine or functioning.
Dr. Gomez shared a tip for discussing the incident with students.
"We talk to our children in a way that informs them and is also developmentally appropriate because we don’t want to fan too much anxiety or fear. But reassure them that the adults are taking charge of all safety measures," she said.