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School threats prevalent in Mississippi after Parkland tragedy

Schools around Mississippi have experienced a number of threats and lockdowns ever since the mass school shooting in Parkland, Florida on Valentine’s Day.

Petal High School received social media threats that were possibly made to the school. When the threats were made, a statement was posted on the Petal School District Facebook page that read, ” Additional precautions are being taken to ensure the safety of all students and staff on all campuses. We will have additional uniformed officers on all campuses beginning tomorrow- February 19th”.

Pearl police investigators arrested a high school student who admitted to lying about overhearing talk of a shooting being carried out by another student. The post went viral smearing the innocent students name over social media and creating an uproar within the school and throughout the community. Lt. Brian McGairty posted an update on Facebook that read, “The student that was arrested has been turned over to Rankin County Juvenile Detention Center and the Pearl Public School District will be reviewing and taking appropriate action at their discretion”.

Gulfport PD responded to a call from North Gulfport Middle School “of someone hearing gunshots”. The school remained under lockdown while officers conducted their search, but no threat was detected and the lockdown was lifted after an hour. A Facebook post from the school read, “We always put the safety of out students, faculty, staff, and visitors first”. Police presence at the school had been heightened following the threat.

The Wiggins Police Department received threats from social media towards Stone County High School and Middle School. One juvenile was arrested  and was in the custody of the Stone County Sheriff’s Department. “These investigators, police officers and school officials were up all night to try and solve this case in order that children, parents, teachers and staff could have a safe and positive learning environment,” said Chief of Police, Matt Barnett. “I appreciate all the hard work.”

Leake Central Junior High School was placed under lockdown after a threat on social media. “There was a message that went out on social media that went out to some of the students, and it said ‘don’t come to school tomorrow, it’s going to be a shootout.’ When the school officials were made aware of it this morning, they put the school on lockdown and notified us,” said Leake County Sheriff Greg Waggoner. No threat was found and the lockdown was lifted, but they continued to search for the person who made the social media post.

At Tupelo High School, a student was arrested for bringing a loaded gun to school. The school never went on lockdown, and the students were not notified until after the arrest was made. The Tupelo Public School Distrist sent a text message to the parents that read, “We wanted you to know that at approximately 10:30 a.m. today, Tupelo High School administrators were notified that a loaded firearm was found on the campus. The incident was swiftly handled by administrators, school resource officers on the campus, and by the Tupelo Police Department. The campus has been deemed completely safe and the matter has been referred to the Tupelo Police Department. THS administrators, faculty, security resource officers and security personnel swiftly handled the situation because of the training they have received. Keeping our campuses safe remains a very high priority of TPSD”.

These events occurred along with several others across the state:

  • Murrah High School
  • McLaurin High School
  • Pearl River Central High School
  • Wesson Attendance Center
  • Caledonia High School
  • Olde Town Middle School
  • Natchez High School
  • Pascagoula High School
  • Senatobia High School
  • Northwest Mississippi Community College
  • Seminary High School
  • Long Beach High School
  • Lawrence County High School
  • Gautier High School

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