Earlier this week, their 7-year-old wrote a goodbye note on her arm when her school went into lockdown.
When we met Vanessa Reed she was doing what she should be doing - playing with her 10-year-old brother, Sean. But last week while at school at Odyssey Charter in Wilmington, Delaware, she was fearing for her life.
"She said that she had found a little nook in the classroom beside a bookshelf and kind of tucked herself in there, which was a little hard to hear," said Vanessa's mom, Shelley Reed.
Her parents said someone made a bomb threat and the school was placed on lockdown. What she did next shocked everyone: She took out a marker and wrote a note on her arm that simply said: "Love Mom and Dad."
"She told me the story and said this was in case 'the bad guys got to us.' I have a hard time saying the rest of it. It makes me emotional still. I just hugged her and we both cried," Shelley said.
Her parents discovered the note when Vanessa got home from school and was changing. They were crushed by what they saw and still don't know what prompted the second grader to write that heart-wrenching goodbye note.
"It was bitter sweet. I hated that she was scared," said Vanessa's dad, Jeff Reed. "I like to scare her and goof around, but to really know that she was scared to death to write, then think of us and write on her arm, it was just a crazy moment I never really thought I would experience."
Understandably, Vanessa's parents didn't want us to interview her or her brother, who attend the same school. But they tell us the children are both are OK and back to their normal selves.
We reached out to Odyssey Charter and never got a response.
Moving forward the family says they will continue to talk to their kids about safety and protect them as best they can, and pray they never relive this moment.
"You have to teach them that the whole world is not just gum drops and rainbows, and we try to give them that kind of life. But we are realistic and say there are bad people out there," Jeff said.
"I say a little prayer and that is just me as mom," said Shelley. "I think a lot of moms do that. Once they are out of your hands it's scary."
The Reed family understands a bomb threat is not something the school can control. The family is hoping their story sparks a larger conversation about school safety and creates a dialogue with parents and their children about the real possibility of school violence.
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