Update: Principal says normal day after emoji threat at Hancock High

A post to an online app Monday night told Hancock High School students not to come to school Tuesday morning, and it alarmed school officials and authorities.

Hancock Chief Deputy Don Bass said a threat posted at 9:39 p.m. to the After School app warned Hancock High students to stay home Tuesday. It showed two pistol emojis.

Hancock High Principal Tara Ladner said the app allows anonymous posting. She said several students reported the post to school officials.

Bass said Hancock County school officials notified the Sheriff’s Office early Tuesday morning.

Bass said members of the Hancock County Narcotics SWAT team were sent to patrol the school until all lunch periods were over. So far, Bass said, there is no indication anyone brought a gun to school.

“Dealing with threats, we take every precaution we can,” Bass said.

Ladner said four extra deputies were on campus — two in uniform and two in plain clothes. Ladner said the officers left campus at 10 a.m.

Students reported seeing SWAT team member patrolling the hallways in bulletproof vests.

Classes continued as normal, and Ladner said there was no disruption to the day.

“While we have to take these things seriously, we wanted to have a normal, regular school day and not allow this to interrupt the educational process were have here at Hancock High School,” Ladner said.

Bass said the school was never put on lockdown.

Ladner praised students for reporting the threat swiftly.

“What I’m most proud of is that it was reported through multiple and varied channels,” she said. “We teach kids here that it’s everyone’s responsibility to keep us safe.”

Justin Mitchell: 228-604-0705, @Journalism_J