Stone County schools disrupted by threats of violence

Stone County schools disrupted by threats of violence
(Photo Source: WLOX)

STONE COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - After a morning of high drama and tension following a shooting threat, life is returning to normal in the Stone County school district.

The 15-year-old suspect police believe is responsible has been sent to a juvenile detention center in Natchez. Officials say he could also be charged as an adult.

It all began with a post on social media.

On a day when flags were still flying at half staff in honor of the Florida school shooting victims, many in Stone County were greeted with a Facebook post under a fictitious name. It said people were going to be killed.

Parents were alarmed and the police presence at both the middle and high schools was heavy.

Charlie Blackwell is a parent. He said, "Well, it definitely concerns you. You're scared for your kids, you're scared for all the kids. It's terrible that it's come to this situation."

Within two hours a 15-year-old middle school student was in custody, charged with felony cyberstalking. This after his phone number was tracked down by police.

Investigator Ray Boggs with the Stone County sheriff's department was mystified with the purpose behind the post. Boggs tried to explain, "He basically had no answer for what he did....I asked him that question and he said no. He doesn't know why he did it, but he just did it."

School district officials say every precaution was taken today to ensure the student's safety.

Inita Oden said this type of event is very frustrating, because of the distraction to students.

"It's a huge disruption. Because I mean we basically destroy the instructional day. I totally understand parents and grandparents keeping their kids at home. The students that did show up, there's not much instruction going on because they are worried and concerned about their friends and their safety," Oden explained.

Police have a warning for others who might try the same thing.

Chief Deputy Phyllis Olds said, "It doesn't matter if it just says one word. If we feel it's a threat to the children in this county, we're going to take action, and we're going to take action very fast."

These kinds of actions are no joke, according to Wiggins police chief Matt Barnett. He declared, "It is criminal, and in my opinion, it ought to have a 20 year minimum sentence. To disrupt this many lives, or threaten this many lives."

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