The line of concerned parents stretched across campus...in the cold and the rain.
“As a parent the first thing is disbelief. ‘Are you kidding?’ The next thing is ‘this is not a joke, I hope some kid doesn’t think this is funny,’ there’s nothing funny about it,” said parent Diana Carroll.
When Akins High School students were finally released after several hours of lockdown Thursday afternoon both parents and students had the same feeling.
“It was a relief. I had to hold my tears back. I’m glad I got them,” said mother Carol Gallardo.
“There was SWAT walking around with their assault rifles, looking trying to find the kid,” said freshman Andy Schumacher.
“About 9:53 my junior, my daughter, she started texted me telling me something’s going on, ‘I’m freaking out, they’re locking us down, they’re turning all the lights out,’” said parent Sherryl Walters.
Walters has 2 kids at Akins. Walters and other parents we spoke with are upset with Austin ISD over confusion and what they feel is poor communication.
“They’re not telling me until 12:00 and my kids have been locked down since 9:50,” Walters said.
“A lot of worried parents, the school didn’t communicate anything which I plan to follow up with,” Carroll said. “After Florida you’d think they’d have a better plan in place, the head doesn’t know what the foot is doing here.”
Even though Austin ISD Police say no gun was found at Akins, parents say something needs to change. Both Walters and Carroll say gun control is not the answer.
“The answer is more communication and understanding and people talking to each other, not getting angry fighting on both sides. We need to get something done, I mean it’s ridiculous, it’s scary. These are our children. Our children are dying at school,” Walters said.
“It should not be a gun free zone, that’s like a big neon sign saying ‘come here we’re helpless, sitting ducks come in.’ I promise you there are teachers that would be happy to take a CHL class and carry with them if they were permitted,” Carroll said.
Diana Carroll’s step son Thor Jacobs says he would feel safer if some instructors were carrying.
“Good people with guns could stop bad people with guns in my opinion. Nothing else could be able to stop those people except for another firearm,” he said.
For an extended interview with Akins student Acacia Casarez, visit Casey Claiborne on Fox 7’s Facebook page.