A steady line of parents, many holding the hands of their pre-teen children, filed out of Stemmers Run Middle School in Essex late Tuesday morning.
Police announced that the school was on lock-down after an eighth-grader brought a gun to school 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 Mormon church and Save-A-Lot 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."