AUSTIN (KXAN) - The way Michael Thornton described his feelings best sum up how any parent would feel when unable to help their children from potential danger.
“I just feel petrified,” said Thornton as he gazed across the street towards Reagan High School where his two children were stuck in lockdown. “You don’t know what is really going on.”
Reagan High School was locked down after a student reported seeing an individual with a gun of Friday. Nearly 30 Austin police and Austin ISD officers armed with rifles surrounded and filled the building, while students sat in dark classrooms waiting for the “all clear.”
The weapon in the officers’ hands told students this was not a drill.
“When (officers) walked into class with a gun, my heart was like ‘thump thump,” said Dequan Coleman.
The fear inside was only matched by parents who flocked to the school looking for information but found only frustration.
“I came over here to get (my daughter) out and the police officer said I cannot,” said Trisha Perez. “I asked what is going on and he wouldn’t tell me.”
Not all parents were so willing to sit and wait as evidenced by one mother who loudly cried she would climb the fence in order to get her son out of the building.
But Austin Independent School District Police Chief Eric Mendez said even though lockdown situations can be nervous times for parents, they have to be conducted in the safest fashion possible.
“Parents do not understand why they cannot come on campus during lockdown,” said Mendez. “We do not let anyone on or off to make sure we are controlling the campus.”
AISD officials have lockdown multiple campuses for security threats in recent weeks including the recent suicide of a student at Lanier High School.
Reagan High School parents received an automated phone call from the district informing them about a security threat and campus lockdown, but it came with no details.
Anyone looking for answers from officers at the school were also disappointed.
“It can cause false information to go out and information that can be misunderstood,” said Mendez about why updates are so carefully released to parents.
Some parents received text messages from their children informing them what was happening inside the building, but Mendez also believes cell phones should remain silent in the event of a lockdown.
“You do not want anything that causes noise giving away your location.”
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