PARAGOULD, Ark. (KAIT) - Officials have arrested a juvenile in connection with an incident Monday that led to the lockdown at Paragould Junior High School.
According to a post on the Paragould Police Department Facebook page, authorities identified a juvenile suspect and made an arrest in the case.
The juvenile, whose name has not been released, was arrested on suspicion of threatening to commit act of mass violence on school property.
A “suspicious note” was found on the campus of a Paragould school, leading to the lockdown of two schools, an early dismissal that has caused confusion and traffic woes, and cancellation of the Junior High District Basketball tournament games.
The Paragould Junior and Senior High Schools were placed on lockdown around 11 a.m. Monday after a note was discovered on the floor of a classroom, according to Paragould School District Superintendent Debbie Smith.
School officials did not disclose the note’s contents.
“I am not a liberty to discuss the details of what was in the note because it is under investigation, but I will say that anytime we have a suspicious note, we take it very seriously,” Smith said.
After placing the school on lockdown, administrators contacted the police department, and by noon, Paragould police officers were conducting security sweeps while students remained safe in their classrooms.
PPD announced kids were safe, but then the school announced they would be systematically releasing the students in the Paragould Plaza parking lot near the former Sears building, and also to the 10 Fitness parking lot.
Parents lined up in the parking lots, and along the road trying to get to their child.
“I was really concerned about the safety of my children,” Candace Towne, mother of a Paragould student said.
Once kids were released from school, Region 8 News caught hugs and embracing as parents and children were reunited.
“Thank God they got out of there without anything bad happening,” parent Penny Conger said.
Some parents said they were not happy with the lack of information released by the school district and learning about the incident on Facebook, but Smith said while the process of releasing students was slow, it was all in the name of safety.
“We want to ensure the safety of our students,” Smith said. “Making sure the students are really going home with the parent or the guardian or who they’re suppose to go with. Making sure we can account for every child on this campus before we release them to someone.”
Paragould police said in a Facebook past the SWAT officers competed the sweep of both the junior high school and high school buildings around 4:30 Monday afternoon.
The post said no weapons were found on the campus, contrary to reports on social media.
An investigation was launched immediately into the matter.
Due to safety, additional police officers will be staged at schools around the district to ease fears or concerns of students and parents. The additional officers will be on top of the SRO already assigned to the district.
The school will be in session on Tuesday, according to the district.
Counselors will also be available to students.
Paragould police said the investigation is active and no other information will be released at this time.