BOSTON - A Boston school was put into lockdown after students saw a man with a gun during recess outside.
The school contacted police, but officers didn't find the man. School leaders say the school went into safe mode for 30 minutes and everyone is fine. School counselors are available for kids who were disturbed by the armed man, but some parents say they weren't happy with the way the school responded.
"I don't think it’s right, I think someone needs to be a voice for these kids. I don’t feel safe that there’s an armed gunman walking around East Boston. And threatening the lives of our kids," said Samantha Ortega.
Ortega's daughter and niece attend Umana Academy in East Boston. She says her niece was outside playing with other students during recess Wednesday when a man approached them with a gun.
"She saw the gun get pointed into her friend’s face and she was really hurt, really sad, crying," said Ortega.
EXCLUSIVE: Parents tell me their kids came home upset after they say a man pointed a gun at them while they were outside for recess.— Litsa Pappas (@LitsaPappas) November 16, 2017
The school's response LIVE at 6PM @boston25 pic.twitter.com/oX3Rtk9lXT
Ortega says those students ran inside to notify a teacher and that's when the school called police and place the school in lockdown, or 'safe mode.'
The school called parents a few hours later with an automated message saying:
"This is (the Umana School) calling to inform you that our school today was placed in safe mode for about a half hour during recess after police received reports of a man possessing a firearm in the vicinity of the school. Boston Police immediately responded and conducted a thorough search of the area, which was not on school property. Officers, however, were unable to locate the man or the weapon. The safety of our students is a top priority of the Boston Public Schools. I want to assure you that our staff today followed all proper procedures to ensure our students remained safe at all times. Counselors were also available for any students who needed support. Boston and School police will remain vigilant in patrolling the area. Thank you for your time. If you have any questions, please call our school office at 617-635-8481."
Now, parents say they're frustrated it took the school a few hours to notify them about the lockdown.
"It shouldn't have been a recording because that leaves more unanswered questions," said Ortega.
The father of the little girl who says the gun was pointed in her face tells Boston 25 News reporter Litsa Pappas he's very upset the school didn't call him first.
"At least, that little girl's parents should have been contacted," said Ortega.
Parents say they believe the armed man was homeless and sleeping near the school. Boston police say there's no threat to the school.
As for notifying parents, the school says all staff followed proper protocol and they told families about the lockdown once it was safe to do so.
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