Life Elementary School, a charter school in Red Oak, was put on lockdown after pistol ammunition was found discarded in a toilet Tuesday morning.
Dispatchers were alerted at 8:02 a.m. and Red Oak Police Department responded to the school located off IH-35E in Red Oak. As of 1:30 p.m., Red Oak Police Lt. Marc Schroeder said officers had searched the entire school and deemed it safe.
He noted nothing was found regarding the ammunition’s origin so the investigation continued with canine units, which conducted free air searches for firearms that could be concealed within the premises.
Shortly after 4 p.m. Tuesday, Schroeder issued a media release that stated a father of a student notified Red Oak Police at about 2 p.m. to report the missing ammo, which amounted to two Glock 43 pistol magazines and eight rounds of 9mm pistol ammunition. The release also noted the father claimed the student did not have access to any firearms, as those were locked in a gun safe.
Schroeder stated all school personnel and students sheltered in place while police searched the building and he explained children did not leave their classrooms until the building was deemed all clear.
Officers from the Red Oak Police Department, Red Oak ISD Police Department, Ferris ISD Police Department, Ovilla Police Department and Ellis County Sheriff’s Office assisted with the investigation.
Parents received an email that stated ammunition was found and the children sheltered in place, parent Kwanita Smith said. She noted the communication offered her and other parents little comfort.
“We don’t really know a lot about what happened,” Smith explained. “They sent all the parents an email stating that they found ammunition in the toilet, but that was it.”
After Smith received the email, she drove to the school like many other parents and was directed by officers to a parking lot near the south side of the school. The parents were then directed to the south entrance where they waited in line to reunite with their children.
Parents at the front of the line gave their child’s name and grade level and then waited as the children were released one-by-one. Officers escorted the students to their guardians, checked IDs and verified with the child that it was his or her parent.
Many parents were seen hugging their child for a moment before quickly guiding each kid into the waiting car.
Smith, who works at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center — Waxahachie, went through the same process to pick up her six-year-old daughter.
“I’m just personally scared,” Smith noted. “They didn’t even tell us to come get the kids but a lot of us were just not willing to take the chance.”
She said too many school shootings have occurred across the country for her not to run to her daughter’s side.
“I was just emotional today at work. I said I had to go,” Smith said. “Something in me said I had to come. I couldn’t sit still.”
Smith also noted that she feels “a thousand time lighter” now that her daughter is safe with her.
Schroeder stated about 70 percent of the students were picked up early from school while the other 30 percent waited in the auditorium for the end of the school day. He also explained the students were instructed to leave their backpacks at the school so officers could check the bags with the canine units.
*This article has been updated throughout to include additional details and quotes.
Travis M. Smith/Daily Light contributed to this report.