WACO, Texas — Parents who might be on heightened alert due to recent school shootings saw that feeling come a little too close to home on Tuesday after a false threat of a shooting was reported at Waco High School.
Many students thought today would be just like any other. But after the sudden lockdown at Waco High School, panic immediately followed.
"Everything's gonna be okay. But you don't know. You don't know that for an absolute fact," Keli Botiller, a Waco High School parent, said. "I mean they have brought out a very small amount of kids. They're not telling us anything."
This was the feeling parents experienced as they waited for hours at BASE Extraco Events Center, hoping to hear if their kids were safely evacuated from Waco High School.
Keli Botiller was on the phone with her son as he was hiding under a desk at school. Until she heard her sons voice, panic took over.
"Until I could get a hold of my son, I was out here crying. I was fussing at police because they wouldn't give us any answers," Botiller said. "So, I just don't trust Waco PD to give us the truth, unfortunately."
With the shooting in Uvalde fresh in peoples minds, all they could imagine was the worst.
"I just kept thinking about all the other shootings and how I didn't want to be that parent that had to come to that," Amy Williams, Waco High School parent, said. "I was terrified. My whole body was shaking."
As hundreds of parents waited outside to see their kids, the students inside the school were preparing for the worst.
"I was really scared. I called my parents and they were all up here with cops, people were posting on Instagram prayers for the kids inside," Briana Hernandez, senior Waco High School student, said. "They were just like 'make sure you call your sister, make sure she's okay. Make sure there's an exit or a window. And make sure if something happens, break the window.'"
School is supposed to be a place to learn, have fun and make friends, but for some it's now a place of fear.
"I got scared I'm not going to lie. I'm not coming to school tomorrow," Bennie Graves, freshman Waco High School student, said. "I don't feel safe."
Some students don't feel safe, and parents are now hesitant to send their kids back to school.
"We can't do anything to protect our children," Botiller said. "We're supposed to be sending them to school to get an education, but we can't trust that they will come home from that safely."
At around 5 p.m., it was confirmed that all students had been safely evacuated from the building and reunited with their parents. According to a Waco ISD representative, school is scheduled to resume as normal Wednesday.
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