McKINNEY, Texas - McKinney North High School was briefly placed on lockdown Friday morning after a student killed himself with a gun on campus.
McKinney ISD says the student was a tenth-grade boy. Police say he was found in an empty classroom by a teacher and a student. He was rushed to the hospital with what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound and later died.
The school was immediately placed on lockdown following reports of a gunshot.
Students were moved to Boyd High School where their parents picked them up. Those who drove to school were allowed to drive home after being checked out, the school district said.
There were tears and hugs as students were released to their parents hours after the incident. Students described the terrifying moments.
“People didn't know what was going on,” said student Reece Cho. “I started crying. I was worried about my friends and my sister.”
“I'd just come from lunch walking up to my classroom. As soon as I got in, my teacher slammed the door, yelling at us to get to the back of the classroom, turned off the lights,” recalled student Aubrey Ferris. “We just sat there for an hour and 15 minutes. She told us not to get on our phones because it was illuminating our faces. We just sat there."
The students say the incident shows there needs to be better security at her school.
“Anyone can walk into that school with a gun,” Ferris said. “I think there should definitely be more precautions on safety.”
“I think it's unacceptable that a student was able to go into a school with a gun,” Cho said. “And even if he didn't kill anyone else, he still could have.”
Police are investigating to see how the student got the gun into school.
"That was probably easy enough for him to do," said parent Claire Petty. "I mean everyone's got a backpack. Everybody walks in. It's not like there's metal detectors or anything at the school."
McKinney ISD recently emphasized the expanded use of cameras, crisis counselors and a tip line for reporting threats. That discussion followed the school shooting in Parkland, Florida. But none of it stopped a gun from getting inside the school.
As part of their 2016 bond program, the school district added $6.5 million worth of security upgrades.
Frank Giannattasio is a grandparent who is fed up.
“They're idiots if they don't do anything about this,” he said. “They need to put metal detectors in there.”
Giannattasio thinks if the district can afford to build a $70 million football stadium, it can afford more security.
“The one with the crack in it. $70 million dollars, yeah,” he said. “We can do that, but we can't put metal detectors in there."
Several young students who were also on campus for the Employee Preschool Program were moved to Boyd.
No other students were hurt.
The district said there is no information to indicate the student planned anything beyond suicide.
Police have said very little information, citing the sensitive nature of the incident. They are investigating if he posted anything on social media about his plans.
If you or a loved one is feeling distressed, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The crisis center provides free and confidential emotional support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to civilians and veterans. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Or text to 741-741
CLICK HERE: https://afsp.org/about-suicide/risk-factors-and-warning-signs/ for the warning signs and risk factors of suicide. Call 1-800-273-TALK for free and confidential emotional support.