A Texas dad is being praised for his brave move in the wake of Tuesday's mass school shooting which saw 19 children and two teachers killed.
Like many US parents, Ed Chelby is very worried about the safety of his own daughter — who attends Saegert Elementary in Killeen — so he offered to put his security background to use.
Admitting he couldn't sleep following the news of the massacre in nearby Uvalde, the concerned dad sent an email at 1am asking permission to guard his daughter's school, where his wife also works as a nurse.
The school allowed it, and now Mr Chelby — who has 11 years' experience in the US Army — guards the school's main entrance to offer relief for parents.
"I said I would just be out there unarmed to let people know that I’m watching. Let the parents have a little bit of relief," Mr Chelby told KWTX.
Mr Chelby said he had many emotional parents approaching him, admitting they were scared to send their kids to school.
Parents praise dad's 'courageous' decision
A photo of the Mr Chelby standing outside the school has since gone viral on Facebook, with parents dubbing the dad a "hero to his family and community".
Samantha Longfeather-Locke, the mum of a student at Saegert, captured the image.
"There is a gentleman that was standing outside of my daughter's school this morning when I dropped off," she said online.
"I wanted to thank that gentleman for doing that because I think it's very courageous and it puts some of our hearts and minds at ease."
She told KWTX it was reassuring to see him standing in front of the school.
Please say thanks to this fine gentleman that volunteered today to stand watch at a Texas school. We need more like him. 🙌🙌🙌
Saegert Elementary ❤️🤟 Killeen Texas pic.twitter.com/aMauIkyd9b
— Blue Starr (@bluestarrfl) May 26, 2022
"The world needed to know what he was doing because I feel that, that’s sparking some sort of change to start," she said.
Mr Chelby said he recognised that a lot of parents want to send their kids to school to get an education, but are in fear of their safety.
"A child should never have to worry for their safety as they come into school, and Mr. Chelby helped ensure that sense of security the last two days of school after a horrific tragedy," the school's principal Eli Lopez, told Newsweek.
Do you have a story tip? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.