It was a fearful Monday for hundreds of parents in the Corpus Christi Independent School District.
Reports of a man acting strange and carrying a briefcase near Weber Road and Tiger Lane caused three schools to go on lockdown; Carroll High School, Kostoryz Elementary and Yeager Elementary.
With parents on edge following the shootings in Connecticut, many were frantic, trying to get their kids out of school.
The lockdown was lifted after just over an hour, and all the kids made it safely home. However, the man police were looking for is still on the loose.
"My daughter called me," said Yvonne Rosas, the parent of a Carroll High School student. "They were on lockdown. There was somebody with a gun. I'm just hysterical. I've already lost one kid. I don't want to lose another one."
Rosas was overcome with emotion after she heard about the lockdown at Carroll High School. She rushed to get her daughter, Allie, out of the school. She was so frantic because of the memories that came rushing back, of the loss of her three-year old son just two years ago. He was run over and killed in the parking lot of Chuck E. Cheese's.
"I was at home watching Connecticut and my grandmother called and said Carroll's on lockdown," said Kimbra Heslip. "And I immediately got up."
The Connecticut shooting was definitely on the minds of parents as Carroll High School, along with Yeager and Kostoryz elementaries, were all shutdown tight.
Nearly 100 parents showed up to Kostoryz to try and get their kids out of school. Antonia Villagomez was inside eating lunch with her two children when they were told they needed to head to safety quickly. Eventually, many more parents showed up to the school and apparently tried to force their way in to get their kids.
"We could hear banging on the doors, like parents yelling, 'Let us in. We want our kids,'" Villagomez said. "They could see parents throwing stuff at the glass and banging on windows and doors, trying to get in to their kids."
All of this happened as police searched for the possible gunman, who a constable had first spotted near Tiger Lane and Weber Road.
"He saw a gentleman that had a beard. Said he looked like a transient," said Captain David Blackmon of the Corpus Christi Police Department. "He was mumbling. Had a jacket on and like, a rolling suitcase, and said he thought he heard the guy say something about a gun. He wasn't sure, so he went and turned around and came back, and the guy was gone."
Police searched for over an hour and a half, but never found the man. Finally, just after 12:30 p.m., the lockdown was lifted and parents were able to get their children out of school.
Police and school officials say the lockdown worked as planned. These events happen throughout the school year as police, from time to time, are looking for a dangerous person and want to make sure the kids aren't harmed; but in this case, Connecticut was fresh on everyone's minds and obviously caused a lot of concern on the part of parents.
Because of the timing, it is natural for parents to be concerned and emotional; but experts say it is important to remain calm in front of your kids.
During these types of situations, counselors say it is very hard to remain calm, but it is imperative for your child's well being to not become hysterical and overly emotional.
"I think it's very important to be aware of your child's vulnerability," Counselor Pat Hudson said. "And the more anxious you know your child to be, the more you should work to reassure them and to appear calm yourself, even though inside you're afraid for your child, of course."
Dr. Hudson said about 25-percent of children suffer from some type of anxiety. 5.9-percent suffer from severe anxiety, and when parents lose control, it only causes more stress on the child.
Hudson also spoke about ways to help your child cope. If they do attend any of the schools that were on lockdown, chances are they are shaken up. Many times, that can lead to your child having nightmares.
Here are some solutions Hudson had to offer.
"I would be very encouraging to the child to talking to you about the dreams, and say, 'What did you dream? Could you imagine Jesus, or a Spiderman, or anyone you consider your superhero to be in the dream with you?'" Hudson said. "That is often what the child can accept."
Anytime your child is going through a rough time, the first thing to do as a parent is to talk to them. Listen to what they have to say. Also, religion can provide a sense of comfort during stressful times.
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