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MORE: "You need to let us know:" Parents demand more info from deputies, school

"I understand maybe they don't want to instill panic into the parents," Rosa, a parent, told Fox 4's Senior Reporter Kaitlin Knapp. "...you need to let us know about the actual situation."
Posted at 5:48 PM, Mar 28, 2024

LABELLE, Fla. — Communication and information — the lack of it — is what parents say they are frustrated about following Wednesday's lockdown of Country Oaks Elementary School in LaBelle.

"My concern is not getting the information when it's happening," one parent said.

Fox 4 senior reporter Kaitlin Knapp spoke with parents of fourth grade students - the same age as the two students arrested on Wednesday. The parents say they had no idea about the lockdown until hours later.

RELATED: "We stopped a school shooting": Hendry Co. Superintendent speaks; 2 arrested

Through the district's messaging system, they received a text message telling parents there was a lockdown and an increased law enforcement presence. However, it did not describe what happened.

Parents did not know what transpired until a post from the Hendry County Sheriff's Office around 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.

"I understand maybe they don't want to instill panic into the parents," said Rosa, a parent. "I get it, but at that point, you need to let us know about the actual situation."

At that point, everyone learned 10-year-old Carlos Madrid allegedly had ammunition in his backpack. Through the investigation, deputies say Madrid bought it in late February from another student and exchanged it on campus.

Rosa claims her son has had previous run-ins with Madrid. We asked the district superintendent about this, and while he would not go into detail, he said there have been previous behavioral issues with one or both boys in the past, but nothing to this extent.

RELATED: "We stopped a school shooting": Hendry Co. Superintendent speaks; 2 arrested

Aside from what parents are calling the lack of information and communication, Rosa says the fact investigators believe the gun was exchanged on campus in February and no one knew until this investigation, is unnerving.

"It's scary, it's very scary to know there was no adult around at that time, where the exchange happened," she said. "You send your children to school in a safe spot, and that's not safe."

Both parents tell Fox 4 they want to see some changes. Rosa wants the district to focus on catching weapons on campus.

"Maybe metal detectors might help the situation," she said.

Another parent says she wants them to be notified sooner of a situation, rather than hours after the fact.

"Address it at the time that it's happening. Make meetings about it, tell the parents about it," the parent said.

The parents are hoping to meet with school leaders to address the issues.