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Authorities look into alleged threats — No charges pending for Enterprise youth

A handful of parents say they pulled their children out of Enterprise Attendance Center after an alleged shooting threat by a student last month, but the sheriff says no charges are pending after other students told investigators no threats were made.

Lincoln County Sheriff Steve Rushing said his officers interviewed several students at Enterprise on Tuesday, March 6, after a concerned parent called the department to report a student had threatened to shoot up the school on Friday, March 2. Investigators spoke to the student who allegedly made the threat and several others who heard it and were unable to substantiate the parent’s complaint, he said.

“He made the comments to some other students, and when we went back and talked to those students, from what we understand it was not against a school in particular,” Rushing said. “We were told they were talking about the Florida shooting.”

Rushing said his investigation ended without any charges being filed, and his office turned over its information to the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation and the FBI. MBI did not return calls seeking comment, and an FBI spokesman referred all questions back to Rushing.

Lincoln County School District Superintendent Mickey Myers said the student in question no longer attends Enterprise after withdrawing on March 7.

Alleged school killer Nikolas Cruz was arrested and charged in the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, that killed 17 people and wounded numerous others.

The mass shooting has caused schools nationwide to reappraise their security systems and crisis response plans, and to treat potential threats seriously — Wesson police arrested a student at Wesson Attendance Center Feb. 20 and charged him with simple assault with intent to create fear.

Even though the Enterprise threat is so far unsubstantiated, several parents are upset with the way the school handled the incident and kept their children home for a few days the following week. Some parents have removed their children from Enterprise entirely, they said.

Leslie Waldrop said she pulled her son and daughter out of Enterprise and is homeschooling them because she does not trust school officials to properly handle safety issues. She said her daughter first told her about the alleged threats on March 2, and she figured the school would handle it.

“Monday my daughter came home and said that boy was still at school,” Waldrop said. “He could have killed everybody up there. It wasn’t addressed immediately like it should have been.”

Waldrop said her husband, Justin Waldrop, called the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department to report the incident that afternoon — March 5 — three days after the shooting comments were allegedly made.

Rushing confirmed Justin Waldrop made the initial report to his office, not school officials.

“When we checked with the school they were in the process of trying to find out more and were fixing to let us know about it,” he said. “When we talked to them, they told us everything that happened.”

Waldrop said her husband next called the Lincoln County School District to complain. It is unclear when school officials first heard about the alleged threats, though Waldrop claims several other parents were aware March 2.

Waldrop said the FBI called to interview her about the incident on March 7.

Rhonda Fugler said she also pulled her children out of Enterprise because of the incident and will enroll them at Brookhaven Academy next year. She declined to comment further.

Janel Jergins, who said she briefly worked as a custodian and bus driver at Enterprise a decade ago, said she kept her daughter out of school for several days when word of the alleged threats began to spread. Like Waldrop, she believes school officials did not act quickly enough.

Myers said he has thoroughly investigated the Enterprise incident, but declined to offer details due to laws protecting student privacy. He said Lincoln County schools are safe and further safety training for school officials is scheduled for this summer.

Enterprise Principal Terry Brister did not immediately return messages seeking comment.