After Gun Reported, Parents Take Stemmers Run Students Home

Parents of middle school students said they received little information from school officials about the incident.

A steady line of parents, many holding the hands of their pre-teen children, filed out of in Essex late Tuesday morning.

Police announced that the school was on lock-down after an that morning. No one was injured during the incident, and officials said they do not plan to release further details until a 2 p.m. press briefing.

Officials said the school day would go on as regularly scheduled. Still, anxious parents and TV news trucks gathered around the school's entrances. Vehicles crowded parking lots to the and grocery store across Stemmers Run Road.

Some ignored the growing media prescence, while others stopped to criticize school officials for not offering more information. Many drew parallels to the recent student shooting at Perry Hall High School. The two schools are located about nine miles apart, both in the Baltimore County school system.

"I heard what had happened on the news. The principal didn't give us any information, so that was a little nerve-racking," said parent April Vines, who took her daughter, sixth-grader Briel Bynum, out of school around noon.

"It's just too much to know that anything could happen. School's not as safe as it used to be, and I can't have my daughter in there without knowing what's going on," Vines said.

Bynum said students were not informed that a gun was in the school during the lock-down.

"We didn't know there was a gun, we were just told to lock our doors and that we needed to stay inside and calm. Nobody knew what was going on," she said.

Parent Debbie Jones said she was especially frustrated that details would be held until a press conference later in the afternoon.

"We're the parents, and you're asking us to leave our children here? Telling us to wait until a press conference. Why does the press need to know before us parents who are here? I think this was a horrible way of handling this," Jones said. 

"I'm scared. It was just a few weeks ago that this happened at Perry Hall, and now this," she added.

Jones' daughter, seventh-grader Cassi Humphreys, said she found out from other students that a gun may have been inside the school.

"What we heard was that there was a kid around the school who had a gun, and we were just on lock-down," Humphreys said. "We were stuck in our homerooms and it was boring at first, but then it started being fun because we were talking."

VWK September 11, 2012 at 05:39 PM
Someone please correct me if I'm wrong, but if a school is on lock-down why are parents trying to contact it for information. I am a Perry Hall High parent and the day of the shooting I did not dare try to text or call my son because I had no idea what was going on inside of that school. For all I knew, kids were hiding from a gunman roaming the halls. I had to trust that all of the drills and preparation they've done in the past were being implemented and that my son was as safe as he possibly could be. Was it excruciatingly nerve-wracking? Of course, but should the schools emphasize what a lock down is and tell the public not to call or text until crisis is over? Again, maybe I don't understand the meaning or purpose of a lock down.
Leah September 11, 2012 at 09:53 PM
VWK, it seems that you have a perfect understanding of what a lockdown should entail. You can't tell parents that though. They do what they want regardless of rules or policies. It's probably how their kids get that way.
Leah September 11, 2012 at 09:56 PM
Having said that, I'm sure everyone who could was trying to communicate that they were okay that day at PHHS. Students and staff alike.
Evets September 11, 2012 at 11:11 PM
VWK, you sound like a fine parent. I am a BCPS teacher who has been through countless lock-down drills, severe weather drills, 500 foot drills, etc. A lock-down means that you clear the hallways and bathrooms,, stay put in a classroom, door locked, any door/outside windows covered, against a wall out of sight of the door if possible, lights off, and silent. The door is not opened for anyone. And students are not to be using cell phones. The challenge for these drills is to ensure that the students take them seriously, but that we don't scare them in the process. Panic and chaos is never good, and in a real lock-down could cause people to be harmed. So the teacher must be the epitome of calm. I will readily admit that some teachers do not take these drills seriously enough, and this could cause problems in an actual event. The cell phone issue also leads to problems. In one instance, a student texted her mother that a man with a gun was just outside her classroom. This was during a drill, so there certainly was no one in the building, but this caused undue panic for that family. Another time, a student's cell phone rang rather loudly in an otherwise silent and dark room. (The student's mother was calling because a sibling had called to tell her about the lock-down) It was like an announcement, "Here I am, come get me!" Again, this was a drill, but one can imagine the consequences if an actual event were occurring.
Evets September 11, 2012 at 11:12 PM
The safety of students is of paramount concern in these situations, whether real or practice. Does everything we do ensure no student will ever be harmed? Of course not. No drill or practice can prepare us for every situation. However, with drills and common sense, we WILL protect your child as if he/she was our own.


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