Students, Parents React to Alleged Westside Threats

February 28, 2007 - Posted at 8:45 p.m. CST

JONESBORO, AR -- The quick reaction by Westside school officials and police helped to keep the incident from becoming much worse.  Though parents feel Westside is as safe as any other school, Tuesday's news caught many off guard.

"Because of the Westside shooting that happened before, I was scared that maybe like, it could happen again and we might be in danger or something, so I was scared," said student Kassi Churchwell.

"It just doesn't make any sense to me because why would someone want to go and shoot the school again after it happened a couple of years ago and the kids went to this school.  The school can't be that bad," said Junior Lakisha Kim.

Students say that news of two boys arrested for terroristic threatening, possession of a handgun and receiving stolen property spread like wildfire through the Westside campus Wednesday and as parents learned, the issue of school safety became a hot topic.

"Do you think your children are relatively safe at school here?" asked reporter Heather Flanigan, "Generally, yes," answered Barbara Speaks as she waited to pick up her freshman daughter.

Frances Nix remarked, "Any of the schools are safe.  It's just a matter of really knowing the kids and paying attention to what's really going on, listening to them for a change."

"Do you feel like the Westside school district is a safe school district?" asked Flanigan. "I guess they do their best, I'll just leave it like that," said parent Deborah McAnally.

"I feel safe that she's here.  I really trust everybody around here and I really do think they do a good job, safety wise," said parent Charlotte Warnick.

The two suspects are being charged as juveniles so their names aren't being released.  They are charged with terroristic threatening, minor possession of a handgun, and theft by receiving.  They will remain in the Craighead County jail until their court date next Wednesday.