ALLEN—According to a parent, a lockdown drill at her daughter’s elementary school quickly got out of hand when a substitute teacher and principal overreacted. After the experience, Brooke Wilcox pulled her daughter out of the school. 

Texas Scorecard offered Allen ISD the chance to respond to Wilcox’s allegations. Their response is printed in full at the bottom of this article. 

“On Friday, February 23, 2024, I received an email at 2:06 pm from the Principal stating there was going to be a drill,” Wilcox told Texas Scorecard. “When my daughter got home after school at 3 pm she was in tears.”

Wilcox explained that her daughter’s 5th-grade class at Reed Elementary School had a substitute teacher that day, who “started unraveling” when students made noise during the drill. Her daughter recalled a chair screeching when a child adjusted their seat, a few students hit their desks as they shifted to a more comfortable position, and a student made faces in an attempt to make others laugh. 

According to her daughter, the substitute teacher “shushed” the students, then yelled at them to “Be quiet!” As the drill ended and the lights came on, the substitute teacher was seen wiping tears from her eyes before announcing to the class that she was going to have a police officer come in and talk to them. 

Wilcox then said a police officer came in and lectured the class, followed by a male teacher, and then the school counselor. 

“How many people [are] needed to lecture the kids when it was 1-2, not the entire class of 25 [that caused an issue]?” Wilcox asked. 

“Then it all got out of hand when the principal came in and was yelling,” said Wilcox. “The kids stated she was screaming, and honestly, I believe them because in her Mailer for Monday morning she stated her voice was still recovering.”

Texas Scorecard has reviewed the Monday morning announcements sent by Principal Kandes Jones. In it, she did state that her voice was still recovering but did not specify from what. 

According to her daughter’s recollection, the principal was yelling “YOU ALL HAVE FAMILIES AT HOME. WHAT WOULD THEY DO IF YOU WERE DEAD (or died)?” At this point, Wilcox said multiple children cried and classes at the end of the hall could hear the yelling. 

In a strange turn of events, Wilcox said the substitute and the principal left the classroom to console each other in the hallway, then returned to scold the class further. “Another child is so mad at this point he throws a chair near my daughter, and then sweeps everything off her desk. She did not feel safe at that moment! Instead of calming down the situation, the children are told, ‘I DON’T CARE WHO IS CRYING, I AM GOING TO CALL EACH ONE OF YOUR PARENTS THIS WEEKEND!’ as she [Principal Jones] is taking pictures of the children.”

Wilcox found it upsetting and inappropriate for pictures of the children to have been taken at this moment. When she requested to see the pictures taken of her child, Wilcox told Texas Scorecard that the principal said she deleted them. 

While Wilcox has withdrawn her daughter from Allen ISD, she is still awaiting answers from the district about the incident. 

Texas Scorecard sent an open records request to Allen ISD, asking for the following documentation: 

  1. The employee file of Reed Elementary Principal Kandes Jones.
  2. The name and employee file of the substitute teacher for Reed Elementary Teacher Shoshana Sanders on February 23, 2024.
  3. All drills planned and executed on February 23, 2024, at Reed Elementary, including reports of those drills. 
  4. All photographic images taken by Reed Elementary Principal Kandes Jones on February 23, 2024, taken and/or stored on any electronic devices or smartphones used by any or all of these parties for official business, whether they are personal or government-owned.
  5. Video recordings of the hallway of Reed Elementary Classroom 125 on February 23, 2024, from 1:50 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

The district has appealed to the Texas Office of the Attorney General, requesting that all of this information be “exempted from disclosure.” Texas Scorecard sent two more open records requests. Both are for communications in the hands of certain school employees. One was for communications about the incident in question, and it is still in process. The other was a request for Jones, Sanders, and Superintendent Dr. Robin Bullock’s communications regarding vouchers. The district provided records on March 21. 

Following the appeal, Texas Scorecard reached out to Allen ISD district officials, including superintendent Dr. Robin Bullock and school board trustees, asking if they have any comment on the occurrences at Reed Elementary, and whether they are covering up the incident by refusing to turn over documentation from the day in question. 

Their response is printed in full below: 

Thank you for reaching out for clarification, as the information you have been provided is not truly indicative of what actually happened on that day. As I’m sure you are aware, TEC, §37.114(2) requires a certain number of mandatory school drills to be conducted each school year, with lockdown drills occurring twice per year (once per semester). Reed Elementary met their required lockdown drill for the Spring 2024 semester on February 23, 2024.

In 2022, following the tragic murder of 19 children and two teachers at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Governor Greg Abbott wrote a letter to Kathy Martinez-Prather, Director of the Texas School Safety Center, and said, “The State must work beyond writing words on paper and ensuring that the laws are being followed; it must also ensure that a culture of constant vigilance is engrained in every campus and in every school district employee across the state.” In Allen ISD, we take these words seriously, and it is an expectation of all students and staff to conduct themselves in a serious manner during all drills to prepare for the event of an actual emergency. While we pray an actual emergency never occurs, we must also realize the Allen community is not immune to these crises, as eight people were murdered at the Allen Outlets in a mass shooting event in May of 2023.

While you state that “students made some noise,” it does not accurately reflect the behavior exhibited during this lockdown drill. The student behavior exhibited on this day could have placed the classroom in danger if an actual active-shooter event was occurring. This behavior did not meet the expectations that Allen ISD sets during these potentially life-saving drills, and therefore Reed staff members re-established behavior norms with the students.

In response to your public information request, the District provided responsive documents within the required timeframe. It is the District’s understanding that some of the information requested is protected, and has requested an opinion from the Texas Attorney General. The District is within every legal right to request this opinion, as set forth in the laws surrounding the Public Information Act. The District denies the claims outlined in your email.

Sydnie Henry

A born and bred Texan, Sydnie serves as the Managing Editor for Texas Scorecard. She graduated from Patrick Henry College with a B.A. in Government and is utilizing her research and writing skills to spread truth to Texans.