Parents React to Perceived Threat to Abilene, Wylie Schools

As authorities and administrators deal with reports and rumors of an unvalidated threat at several Abilene schools, parents and students must deal with the uncertainty and fear that inevitably stems from this situation.

"I heard there was going to be a shooting on Friday, at all Abilene and Wylie schools," said Leslie Paredez, a parent waiting to pick up her child from an Abilene elementary school Tuesday afternoon.

Fear -- the spread of fear -- something we are all too familiar with.

"There a lot of wackos out there, with this whole Mayan thing and the thing last Friday, it scares me," said Tiffany Perez, another concerned parent.

"I know parents are fearful and they want to know what the school system is going to do," added Becky Casey, a retired AISD teacher picking up her grandchildren from school.

Undeniably, the massacre of 26 people in a small elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut last Friday has prompted a strong response to a perceived threat to the Abilene and Wylie school districts this Friday.

It is a threat that has been investigated and is so far unsubstantiated, according to Police Chief Stan Stanridge, who spoke at a  news conference Tuesday morning.

But a response many agree is only right in a situation like this one.

"If there's a rumor of a threat, you have to take it seriously," said Tracy Fleet, a licensed professional counselor at Life Renovations in Abilene. "To not do something just seems against human nature."

Fleet said rumors on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter not only spread the message - they also spread that innate fear.

"Fear tends to like that one implicit question -- what if? And we as self-protecting creatures think and dwell on worst case scenarios," he explained.

For parents and grandparents KTAB spoke with, the increased police presence gives a sense of much-needed security and in a tense time like this, that's crucial.

"If it was my choice, I'd like a cop here all the time," said Perez.

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