Hancock High under tight security after concerns that earlier conflict could create violent attack

Hancock High was under tight security Friday as students embroiled in a racially charged conflict led to worries about violence at the school.
Published: Apr. 8, 2022 at 5:57 PM CDT
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HANCOCK COUNTY, Miss. (WLOX) - On Friday, Hancock High School was under tight security as students embroiled in a racially-charged conflict that spilled over to social media led to worries about violence at the school.

While Hancock County Sheriff’s Office units indicated there could be trouble, Senior Day went on without a blink.

As the students are looking forward to their future, they said their present is quite secure.

“I feel safe,” said senior Christian Bates. “If I was going to be anywhere other than home because of a threat, I’d be here. I feel as safe as I would be in my own house.”

For twins Mason and Evan Holladay, safety has never been a question.

“I never even thought about it,” Evan said. “Yeah, we don’t really think about it,” added Mason. “We love school. That’s all we think about. We have great police officers over here. We have great principals. Mrs. Tara Ladner is amazing. Mrs. Merwin’s amazing. I’m always safe everywhere I go.”

Evan said safety is always a priority.

“Especially out here,” he said. “We have a fairly open campus, so I always feel safe, even throughout the day. There’s a lot of teachers out there. Our safety is very important. Miss Tara tries very hard to make sure every kid is safe and protected here.”

Hancock School Superintendent Teresa Merwin said all threats are treated equally.

“This threat isn’t any more viable than any other threat we’ve received,” she said. “Because we have a protocol to treat all threats the same way, we don’t ever falter from that protocol.”

She added that the school has dealt with those students involved.

“We know who we need to speak with and we’ve spoken with those people to bring resolve to the situation and we have measures in place to take care of anything that might happen as a result,” Merwin added.

Principal Tara Ladner said she met with about 20 student protesters who walked out of class this morning over the way the situation was handled, and she said the gathering ended without any issues.

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