Some Parents Frustrated After School Scare

Parents criticize district's handling of emergency notifications

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Parents are questioning how the Arlington Independent School District notifies them of emergencies after an incident Wednesday morning at Rankin Elementary. (Published Wednesday, May 1, 2013)

    Some Arlington parents are questioning how the school district notifies parents in an emergency after a suspicious device was found at an elementary school on Wednesday.

    The device, which authorities later identified as a battery charger, was found in a dumpster at Bess Rankin Elementary School on Wednesday morning.

    Just this semester, the school district launched a text-messaging system in addition to its phone-call notifications. But the district used the phone-call system, which more parents are signed up for, on Wednesday.

    Some parents said they felt out of the loop.

    "It's kind of frightening knowing we can't do anything," said Yoli Nava, the parent of a Rankin student. "They just kind of tell us, 'Go to the church [and wait]. We got it.' No, you don't have it."

    "We did shelter in place with all the children accounted for -- they were safe," Arlington fire Lt. Kevin Seeton said. "Once our fire department crews showed up and our bomb squad, we went over with our robot, and it ended up being a battery charger that was left in the dumpster."

    Some parents say the district needs to keep them better informed.

    The school district said that it would use all of its tools -- phone calls and texts -- in the future.

    It also encourages parents to sign up for the text-messaging service and update their contact information so they receive texts when they are sent.

    "I'm glad that nothing happened and everybody got together, but maybe sometimes things like this happen so that everybody can be on the same page," Nava said.