From evacuation to reunification

Parents wait to be reunited with Oshkosh West High School students bused to Perry Tipler Middle School (WBAY photo)
Parents wait to be reunited with Oshkosh West High School students bused to Perry Tipler Middle School (WBAY photo)(WBAY)
Published: Dec. 3, 2019 at 5:19 PM CST
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The high school had an emergency plan in place in the event of a serious incident like the one this morning.

"It was pretty crazy, because as soon as I texted her something is happening, and she drove right away because we don't live that far away, and she wanted me to get to the car and I couldn't get to the car, we had to come over here," Oshkosh West junior Caitlynn Geho said.

Hundreds of Oshkosh West students were evacuated from their locked down school and led to buses taking them to Perry Tipler Middle School about a mile away for an orderly reunification with their parents.

The reunification plan has been in place for years. Outside we found copies of paperwork dated May, 2015.

"It's something that happened to you that you never want to experience in life. It's a bad, bad experience for people who have never had to go through this," said April Brackens, who came to get her two sons.

For Brackens, it was a long day.

"It was a long process, waiting in the cold outside. I've got house shoes on, as you can see, but I would do anything to protect my children," she said.

It was an even longer day for students who said they heard running and yelling outside their classrooms.

"It's very stressful. I thought I was going to have a panic attack at first. I started crying immediately when I got out of the school, started freaking out, texting my friends, calling my mom, calling my dad," Caitlynn said.

"I just knew we had to get out of the room, because there were shots fired and you could just hear people sprinting down the halls and stuff. It was bad," junior Nick Vey said.

One mom we talked with said she had to sign several forms before being reunited with her son. She said there was a form to fill out for the police department, the school an teachers -- a triple-check system to make sure all the students were accounted for.

She and other parents said the district and the police department did a great job.

The district said it was part of the school crisis response plan, and the students and staff did a great job of going from evacuation to reunification.

Watching some of the families leaving, some were visibly upset. Some were holding on to each other as they walked to their cars.

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