They got to the scene in minutes -- parents called to Canton High School, after their children were put under lockdown inside.
For more than five hours, the only means of communication was cell phones.
"I love you," Casey Hardin told her daughter, Olivia, on the phone. "We'll get you out of there pretty quickly."
One student talked to us from inside a classroom: "We've been couped up in the same class since 1st period."
Anxiety turned into frustration for parents trying to figure out what was happening. They relied mostly on rumors for most of the day.
"I wish the school would send somebody out here to let us know what's going on," John Sickel, a father of two students, said. "I've got two little girls inside the school that want out."
"I haven't been able to contact my son since this happened," Carrie Birdwell, a mother, said.
A national prayer group called Life Choices spent all day at the school. They happened to be speaking at a school in Athens and heard the news. They were with the family of a victim in the Columbine High School shooting.
"Father God, we invite you back into the schools of America," Sarah Mallett prayed, holding hands with the other group members in a circle. "We kicked you out so many years ago. We just want your presence in our schools, God."
Just after 2:00 this afternoon, the parents heard the announcement they had been waiting for all day. The suspect was in custody, and the students could go home safe and unharmed. We spoke to some of them as they left the building.
"I'm in football, so at the first of school, we were down at the field house about 15 minutes before the incident occurred," Eric Crapanzano, a student, said. "Me and the coach's son. We didn't know what it was, so were still goofing around."
But he realized it was no joke when the coach's son was removed from the classroom.
"It was pretty scary," Olivia Hardin, another student, said. "I was just worried about everybody and our coach and just wanted to go home."
And after hours of waiting, they finally could.
"Yes, very relieved," Cindi Curlee, one student's mother, said.
Canton students will go back to school as usual tomorrow.