Frightened parents anxiously awaited word from their children at Olathe East High School on Friday afternoon in an emotional and frantic scene after a shooting on campus injured an administrator and school resource officer.
The shooting occurred in an office area of the school Friday morning and a suspect was in custody, according to Olathe police.
Parents and families were directed to reunite with their children at California Trail Middle School at 13775 W. 133rd Street, the school district announced.
Bus riders will come home on buses from the Pioneer Trail Middle School, just a few blocks from the high school campus, and student drivers will be released in groups and escorted to vehicles to drive themselves home.
Police previously directed parents and guardians to Family Video or Frontier Park near the campus and, within minutes of the announcement, dozens of parents began flooding the corner of 127th Street and Black Bob Road waiting for their children and additional information from authorities. Police kept a presence at the intersection to redirect traffic.
“To clarify, if your loved one was injured, you would have already been contacted by the police department,” the school district said in a tweet. “We will provide additional updates as soon as they are available.”
Cory Stone, whose son is a 14-year-old freshman, said he received a flood of calls from his ex-wife about the incident. Then his son texted: “If I get shot, I love you.”
“Those kids are scared to death,” Stone said.
Stone said he has a fifth-grade daughter in the Olathe system as well. He said he planned to pick her up “and hug her too” on Friday afternoon.
Olathe East parent Nicole Maniscalco was eager to pick up her two students but said she hoped to remain calm for her children.
“I’ll freak out later,” Maniscalco said. “They need to see how mom’s got this.”
Vesta Morgan hosts an exchange student from Kazakhstan who is a junior. She called at 11 a.m. and said they were locked in the library.
“Basically she was upset, she didn’t know what was going on,” Morgan said outside Family Video.
“There’s a little bit of panic,” Morgan said. “It’s a child I’m trying to protect. … You know it happens, but you don’t ever think it’s going to be your child or your school.”
Sarah and Jay Donley, parents of a junior, said their son heard an announcement over the school PA system telling all teachers to check their emails. They live one mile away from the school and heard emergency vehicles responding.
“It’s the worst nightmare,” Sarah Donley said.
Melissa Johnson, the mother of an 18-year-old senior set to graduate in two months, said she was getting text messages from her son saying he and others were inside a school gymnasium under guard and locked down awaiting to be transported to the reunification site.
Parent Nichelle Smith said her daughter, a junior, relayed she and fellow students were locked in classrooms until it was safe for them to be released. Smith’s daughter video called her after the shooting and continued sending her updates over text message.
“It’s been an emotional roller coaster,” Smith said. “You hear about this and you never really think it’s going to happen to your child at school. It was a very scary moment.”
The school was locked down immediately after the incident while law enforcement secured the campus, Olathe Superintendent Brent Yeager said in a message to Olathe East families.
Officials said Friday afternoon that both the injured school administrator and the school resource officer are expected to survive.
A large police presence remained at the scene into Friday afternoon and the Kansas City Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said agents responded to the shooting and were assisting in the investigation.