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Threat of shooting leads to school lockdown

No one was injured Friday as deputies responded to threats of gun violence at Bogue Chitto Attendance Center shortly after classes started for the day.

School doors were locked for about 90 minutes as deputies made sure students, faculty and staff were safe and accounted for, Lincoln County Sheriff Steve Rushing said. The lockdown was lifted by 9:30 a.m.

Rushing said authorities received a call from school administrators concerning a possible threat toward students. After interviewing several students and searching buildings, it was determined that a threat had not been made toward any other students, no weapons were found and no one was injured, Rushing said.

Principal Scott Merrell said several parents came to the campus just after classes started to check out their children based on text messages that were circulating by other parents that a student had threatened to shoot others at the school.

Merrell said the school went into a precautionary lockdown, in which the doors are locked at all entrances and children are kept inside in undisclosed locations. Lessons are suspended and children sit and remain quiet during lockdown, he said.

Merrell said school administrators and deputies determined the initial “threat” had not been made toward other students but by a student who indicated he could hurt himself because of an argument with another child.

The child’s parents were notified, Merrell said.

Merrell said he called for lockdown as a precaution.

“I’d rather have to say I’m sorry for the inconvenience than I would have to apologize for a child being injured in any kind of way,” he said.

By lunchtime, about a third of the more than 700 students had parental check-outs, he said.

Merrell said the school uses an automated phone system to make informative calls to parents and guardians, but no alerts went out Friday to tell parents about the 90-minute lockdown. Many parents who had received texts arrived at the school during the lockdown, but were not allowed on campus until an all-clear was issued.

“Since it was a precautionary measure, we didn’t feel like it was necessary to further exasperate the situation,” he said.

Deputies stayed on and around the campus throughout the day.