Education

Prayers needed after violent threat investigated at South Mississippi school, official says

A student who made a potential threat against the safety of students and adults at Pearl River Central High School has been identified, officials say.

The threat was unfounded, officials said in a Facebook post Wednesday. The reported threat is among at least five complaints of possible danger reported at South Mississippi schools since a fatal school shooting in Florida on Feb. 14.

Some of the threats came from social media posts while some school districts have responded by announcing threats on their Facebook pages.

Pearl River Central campus police and the Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department have completed their investigation and concluded “there was no evidence found of a viable threat to the students and staff at PRC,” Schools Superintendent Alan Lumpkin said.

Lumpkin is urging parents and guardians to talk to their children about “the implications of words and actions.”

“All threats against our students and/or faculty will be taken seriously and addressed swiftly,” Lumpkin said.

He did not say if any actions were taken against the student.

Lumpkin gave no details on the potential threat, but urged parents and guardians to talk to their children about the use of social media regarding potential threats.

“Please use this tool wisely and appropriately,” Lumpkin said. “We also ask that you join us each morning in praying for a hedge of protection around our students and staff members.”

The shooting at a school in Parkland, Florida, on Valentine’s Day claimed the lives of 16 students and a coach at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

The accused shooter is 19-year-old Nikolaus Cruz. Cruz had been expelled from the school and legally bought the AR-15 he allegedly used, the Miami Herald reports.

Campus police and officials at some Mississippi Coast schools two days later told the Sun Herald how they would handle a potential shooter situation and the notification of parents.

Most schools use one or more of these ways to notify parents: automated phone call, text, email, Facebook or Twitter.

A school lockdown is a precautionary measure issued in response to a direct or nearby threat. It requires staff and students to respond quickly and comply with rules. Here’s how it often works.

Lumpkin urged parents to call their child’s school or his office if they have information of a possible threat. The superintendent’s office number is 601-798-7744.

Robin Fitzgerald: 228-896-2307, @robincrimenews

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