NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- They were caught in the middle of madness.
Some grade school students were forced to walk a gauntlet of screaming "Occupy Wall Street" protesters just to get to school on Thursday.
It was a wild day in lower Manhattan for most everyone involved, including elementary school children who had to brave the mayhem just to get to class on the other side of Wall Street.
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In the middle of thousands of protestors yelling and chanting -- some kicking and screaming – CBS 2's Emily Smith found little school kids trying to get to class. Nervous parents led them through the barriers on Wall Street. The NYPD helped funnel the children, anything to ease their fears while some protestors chanted "follow those kids!"
"These guys are terrorists, yelling at little kids," one father said.
"For them it's horrible. They're afraid of all the crowds. We're not even able to get through. They're just, he's … very afraid now," a mother added.
One protester followed a father and his little daughter all the way down the block. As the school day ended just after 3 p.m. children trickled out of Leman Manhattan Prep on Broad Street. Smith heard a 4-year-old boy telling his mom he was scared. He told Smith it looked like a parade.
"There was a parade. It was scary -- crowded with school," the boy said.
"After a while it got so bad some parents couldn't get their children through and they had to go late," said Gary Goldenstein of Tribeca.
Some saw the day's doings as chaos; others saw it differently.
"The parents actually along with teachers were at every entry point into this area, which is fantastic," said Vicki Pitcock of Tribeca.
School officials said they haven't had to change school times or cancel class, and are trying to keep it that way.
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