Posted: Sep 14, 2012 8:22 PM
Updated: Sep 14, 2012 9:39 PM
McALLEN - The stepmother of a Rio Grande Valley student in Austin said she found out about Friday's terroristic threats through Facebook.
Erika Johnson said she didn't know how the threat was unfolding five hours away.
"They had to evacuate the campus and get far from the building," she said.
Her stepson Dashiell kept her informed through text messages.
"He said there was a bomb threat," she said.
Johnson was teaching classes at South Texas College when she found out about the incident unfolding in Austin.
"He lives on campus ... in the dorms," she said.
She was worried what would happen after the threat subsided.
"Will he have to come back home ... will he stay?" she said. "You can't control any of these things."
She said much of the information came through social media. She finally heard Dashiell's voice when he called.
"When we dropped them off a month ago, you don't realize how vulnerable they are," Johnson said.
The threat ended a few hours after it began.
"This gets in the way of classes, it gets in the way of lectures. It might put some people behind ... some teachers behind. For some instructors, it gets in the way of the day," she said.
She understands the stress of life as a professor.
"The warning systems need to be better," she said. "We have one here at STC. All the students are encouraged to be enrolled in that."
She also knows the fear as a parent.
"I heard his voice today. I hadn't heard his voice in a while," she said.
His text messages at the end of the day were much more comforting. He learned a real life lesson in his first month as a college freshman.
University officials said parents can sign up for the same alerts students got today at UT Austin. To register, log on to www.utexas.edu/emergency. Parents will need their child's EID to register their telephone numbers in the alert system.