FRUITA, Colo. (KKCO/KJCT)-- Parents were anxious to pick up their kids from Fruita Monument High School and the Fruita 8/9 school after a three-hour lockdown Wednesday. Hours after the lockdown began, parents lined the roads around the school.
For the DeHart family, the whole ordeal was pretty scary, but they were glad to see the precautions taken by law enforcement.
Ellie and Jack DeHart attend Fruita 8/9 and Fruita Monument High School. Their mom, Nina, said she was scared when her kids first started texting her.
"Definitely at one point I was pretty scared," said Ellie DeHart.
Until parents were able to pick up their kids, it was a waiting game.
"I was scared at first, but honestly when the cops came in with AR's... that's the safest I've ever felt in that school," said Jack DeHart.
Their mom listened to the scanner traffic from home.
"They just continued to send us texts and videos throughout the day and then we just waited for the okay to go pick them up," said Nina.
At 11:30 a.m., hours after the lockdown started, parents like got the go-ahead to pick up their kids.
"We felt it was safe to have parents go ahead and come to the school," said Emily Shockley, a spokesperson for District 51.
Parents who got there earlier were directed to Victory Life Church, where the parking lot quickly filled up with more than 100 parents waiting to hear from their kids.
"We just decided we might as well have somewhere close by for parents to be and then they can be told face to face when it's time to pick up their student at school," said Shockley.
While parents were sent to the church, students were sent to the gym.
"I was just hoping that I could get home," said Jack DeHart.
Nina, while worried, stayed calm, and trusted law enforcement and the school district to keep her kids safe. She kept up-to-date on the latest happenings via Facebook. She said once she knew there was no active shooter and heard from her kids, she was able to keep calm.
"Let the cops do their job," she said. "That's their number one concern...your kids' safety."
She said the reunification process was easy. She filled out some paperwork and gave the schools her ID after waiting in line for more than 45 minutes.
The district and local law enforcement decided together to hold reunification efforts like the process on Wednesday. By about 1:30 p.m., most kids were back with their families.
The school district said they will have a debrief with law enforcement to outline what could be changed or learned from this experience.
The DeHart family said they planned to take the rest of day to grab some food and hang out with Ellie's new pet snake.