PARAGOULD, AR (KAIT) - Greene County Tech in Paragould goes into lockdown Monday after threats on a social media site. The post was made by a ninth grader at the school. It was a situation school officials say they don't take lightly.
"We got an anonymous tip from a parent that there was a post made on facebook that threatened to harm students and teachers," said GCT Superintendent Jerry Noble.
Noble was able to trace the student's facebook page where he found the post. "Immediately I went over to where the student was suppose to be and he wasn't at school. So, we locked down the school and contacted police," said Noble.
Students at all three campuses stayed on lockdown just over an hour, until police were able to track down the teenager. "We know he hasn't been very happy at school. He has had some problems," said Noble.
Noble says the school does have an emergency response system that alerts parents, but Monday it wasn't fully enacted. "We wouldn't want to wait for something to happen, but since he wasn't in the building and the buildings were locked we thought we were safe enough. You're always criticized. Parents will say we should have been notified them, but emergency response plans recommend you don't notify them," said Noble.
For starters, Noble says it could interfere with police securing the area, and tie up the phone lines. One thing that surprised Noble was the tip was called in by a parent. "Not all parents monitor what's going on on social media sites and I'm thankful that this parent did," said Noble.
We talked to parent Terry Lyons who was waiting to pick up her child from school. Her son is 15 and says she monitors his internet history. "We have "Net Nanny" (a paid monitoring system) and I check it often. I get notices whenever there's questionable material," said Lyons.
But she says it's not only about the internet, but open communication with your teen. And the most importantly, know their friends and their parents. "I think it takes a community to raise kids. You know, if see something questionable that their kids are doing, I'm going to tell them," said Lyons.
If anything, Noble hopes this situation is a reminder to students. If they ever come across anything that appears to be threatening to students or faculty, don't hesitate to contact someone.
"That's been a problem, I think, around the nation. When we've had some of these tragedies, students didn't take them seriously," said Noble.
Paragould Police did play an active role in assisting the school district. It's still unclear whether any charges against the student will be filed. As far as the district goes, Noble does says the consequences will be serious.