Harrison Co. school district addresses false shooting threat

Harrison Co. school district addresses false shooting threat
The student who made the false report is facing a misdemeanor charge of disturbance of a public school session. (Photo Source: WLOX)
(Photo Source: Harrison County)
(Photo Source: Harrison County)

HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - A 16-year old student at West Harrison High School faces a misdemeanor charge after spreading a rumor about an active shooter on campus.

Peterson said about 10:30 a.m. during a power outage a student sent text messages to several other students which read "A shooter at the School."

According to authorities, those messages were received by several students on school buses headed back to school from a field trip. Deputies quickly confirmed the school was secure and students were not in danger.

Parents of West Harrison students received a phone message from the school district on Wednesday.

The message said: "A false report was made that a shooter was on the West Harrison High campus today during a power outage. Rest assured that all students are safe on West Harrison's campus."

"He took it upon himself to get on social media and say that there was an active shooter in the school, which caused panic in the public," said Peterson. "We had two SRO's that are assigned to that school. So, it wasn't a panic to law enforcement because we knew it wasn't true."

Peterson said there are two deputies at West Harrison at all times, so they quickly confirmed the school was secure and students were not in danger.

A junior at West Harrison, Jourden Schonewitz, says she doesn't think the texts were meant to be taken seriously. "It was just like a misunderstanding because he didn't mean it in any way like that, he was in my classroom," she said.

It may have been a misunderstanding, but the students at West Harrison still have a lesson to take away.

"You need to think a little more about what you're going to say before you say it because somebody might take it the wrong way," Schonewitz said.

The 16-year old is in the custody of juvenile authorities and faces the charge of disturbance of a public school session.

The Harrison County School District sent the following statement regarding the false threat incident:

We immediately enacted our safety plan when we were notified that a student used social media to spread a rumor about a shooter on the West Harrison High School campus this morning. As soon as the information was verified, we notified parents by sending them this message: "A false report was made that a shooter was on the West Harrison High campus today during a power outage. Rest assured that all students are safe on West Harrison's campus."

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