PILLOW — The afternoon began normally for Vanessa Spang, of Herndon, who has a 12-year-old sixth-grader at Line Mountain Middle School.
"I was here at 2 p.m. like I usually am, waiting for my child," she said. "That's when the police began arriving, and I heard about the lockdown."
Sirens roaring, lights flashing, state troopers and local police personnel in both marked and unmarked cars drove up the long driveway that is the only entrance — and exit — at Line Mountain High School and Middle School. Yellow school buses sat empty in their allotted parking spots, until they were told to drive to the rear of the school.
Parents, who were normally at the school to pick up their kids were glued to their cell phones, muttering all kinds of rumors about a possible shooter at the school. They were joined by parents who only came after hearing that the school district was locked down.
Danielle Shaffer, of Trevorton, with a 10-year-old fifth-grader, got a call from a friend who said the school was in lockdown. She rushed to the school, not knowing what to expect.
"I didn't know what was happening at first. I was scared. Then I got the text message from the school, so I came up the hill," she said. "I've been waiting to hear more about what's going on. Right now, the last text I have said everyone was safe and that there was no active shooter."
Shaffer and others had to wait in a cold, blustery wind for about an hour, with no one providing information — until a text arrived saying students were going to be dismissed. By 3:30 p.m. parents were told by troopers that students who drove to school would be released; all others would be taken home by bus.
Missy Hunsberger, of Dornsife, has a 16-year-old junior in high school. She was able to communicate with him via text message. "I was telling him what was happening," she said, "because he didn't have any idea, because when I first texted him he had just gone into lockdown. I just want to know he's safe.
"Last time he texted me he said they were still locked down, but that he'd be taken home by bus," Hunsberger said.
Hunsberger said thoughts of school shootings haven't been something that ever entered her mind.
"I mean, things like that don't happen around here," she said. "I'm grateful at the response of all these police. It puts your mind at ease. They did great. The administration and staff did great."
Line Mountain School District school board President Troy Laudenslager was at the entrance to the school, "at the bottom of the hill, until things were under control," he said Friday night. "The police response was immediate and large. Everything went according to protocol."