RED JACKET – For precautionary reasons, Mingo Central High School went into a lockdown on Tuesday morning after one student reportedly told another he had a gun on Monday afternoon.
However, after law enforcement officers went to the campus, the situation was cleared and school stayed in session. No gun was found and the lockdown was only for preventive measures.
Mingo County Assistant Superintendent of Schools Paula Brown said the school “was following its crisis plan and protocol.”
This was also confirmed by Assistant Principal Marcella Charles on Tuesday morning. The situation stemmed from an incident on Monday after a comment by one student to another student.
Lt. J.D. Ferris of the Mingo County Sheriff’s Department was already at the school for a Red Ribbon Week assembly. More deputies went to the school to help with a search after the lockdown, however no gun was found.
The student was suspended.
“It was a good opportunity to test the protocol for school threats,” Lt. Ferris said.
Charles said that one student passed another in the hallway on Monday and mentioned he had a weapon in his sock. The student told her teacher, who then informed administration. The student who made the comment was identified and pulled out of class and isolated in the office. After questioning, the student admitted to making the comment, however he did not have a gun, according to Charles.
Rumors surfaced on Monday evening and messages spread on social media. This led to the procedure being set in place for the lockdown on Tuesday morning. Once the school was deemed safe, classes continued as usual. A scheduled assembly was even taking place for Red Ribbon Week in the MCHS auditorium.
Bryan Casto, who is a State Fire Marshall, was also at the school for another assembly. He, along with two National Guardsmen who were at the school for the Red Ribbon get-together, assisted the MCSD with the search.
“They helped us secure the building and assisted us while we were doing our investigation,” Lt. Ferris added.
Other police officers at the school were Lt. Randy Hatfield, Sgt. Glenn Messer and Cpl. Phillip Muncy. Cpl. Norman Mines responded to the incident on Monday afternoon.
Several parents who heard about the lockdown went to the school on Tuesday morning and signed their children out. However, school was still in session after the investigation found that the school was safe and there was no weapon found.
The incident report by the MCSD has been turned over to Prosecuting Attorney Teresa Maynard.
(Kyle Lovern is the Editor for the Williamson Daily News. He can be contacted at [email protected] or at 304-235-4242, ext. 2277 or on Twitter @KyleLovern.)