High school student arrested for making terrorist threats | Free sharing

A 16-year-old student from DAR High School remains in a juvenile detention center and is accused of making a terrorist threat against his school.

Marshall County Sheriff Phil Sims said the unnamed student was overheard by two other students making shooting threats at the school. The threat said the shooting would take place on the Grant campus on Wednesday.

Deputies and investigators from the sheriff’s office, as well as officials from the Marshall County school system, were notified of the threat Tuesday evening.

“An investigation has been initiated by the Marshall County Sheriff’s Office and the Grant Police Department to determine if the threat was credible,” Sims said.

“It was later determined that the threat was not immediate and the investigation continued, culminating in the arrest of a 16-year-old DAR High School student the following day.”

Deputy Head Steve Guthrie said news of the threat began circulating on social media on Tuesday evening, prompting more than half of students to stay home on Wednesday.

“We had deputies on site early Wednesday, searching buildings, buses and grounds, all starting around 4 a.m.,” Guthrie said.

“Overnight, we were able to identify the person who made the threat and we were able to determine that reports on social media that more than one person was involved in the threats were not true.”

Guthrie pointed out that the threat made was a verbal threat.

“We’re not going to take threats of any kind lightly,” Guthrie said. “We won’t end up like Florida or Columbine.

“We will charge those responsible and prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law.”

Making a terrorist threat is a class C felony.

According to the Alabama Penal Code, a Class C felony is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

Guthrie said school resource officers from other schools in the county were called to DAR to help with the situation on Wednesday. Night patrol officers worked to search school grounds while investigators spent countless hours overnight and during the day Wednesday sifting through evidence and interviewing witnesses, he said .

“It was a major incident that took a lot of time, effort and manpower,” Guthrie said.

Marshall County School Board member Brian Naugher said he appreciated the sheriff’s office’s quick response.

“I want to make sure everyone knows how grateful I am to the Marshall County Schools Administration and Sheriff Phil C. Sims and his excellent SROs,” he said.

“Everyone responded quickly and efficiently. Thank you for all you do to keep our students and employees safe.

Sims said his office regularly works with school system officials to keep students safe.

“We take every threat seriously and work daily with all county school administrators to ensure we provide the safest environment possible for our children,” Sims said.

The superintendent responds

Marshall County Superintendent Cindy Wigley released the following statement regarding Wednesday’s school threat targeting DAR High School.

“First and foremost, I thank the staff at our DAR school and the Marshall County Sheriff’s Department for the great job they did in responding to the school’s threat to the DAR campus. Thanks also to the DAR community for your tremendous support in this situation.

I also want to take this opportunity to respond to a few isolated negative comments on social media. I do not generally respond to such comments, but I believe it is in the best interest of our DAR school and supportive school community that I respond to comments posted on my professional social media page, as well as comments made on other social media sites. referring to students who are minor children.

“In a situation such as a threat at school, very specific protocols must be followed and all of our school administrators are trained in threat assessment. A situation such as a threat at school takes time to deal with. Parent notifications are not the first step because we cannot send notifications until we have a chance to determine exactly what the facts of the situation are. Whenever there is suspected criminal behavior, the seriousness of the situation will determine the actions.

“Once school officials are made aware of a potential threat, administrators’ first action is to respond to the initial threat in order to secure students, staff and facilities. A preliminary assessment is carried out, which usually includes protecting and securing evidence, as well as gathering facts through witness interviews and written statements. Facts are promptly reported and turned over to the appropriate authorities (Sheriff’s Department or DHR depending on the situation) as required by law. These agencies may then take further action which may include issuing press releases. Please keep in mind that it is against federal law for school officials to discuss details relating to a student’s educational records, including discipline; therefore, never expect a massive parental appeal or any other similar disclosure of information, as this would be illegal.

“Social media has enabled people who may not have first-hand knowledge, who were not directly involved in a school event/inquiry or trained in school law to share often inaccurate information. My social media page is used as a tool to make announcements and communicate activities to parents and the community. It is not intended to be used for discussion; on the contrary, items of such importance warrant a phone call or a visit to my office. While everyone is entitled to have an opinion and to comment (whether or not they are properly informed), my social media platform will not be used as a forum to disparage our students, staff or schools. Our students and staff work very hard to provide the best opportunities for our students. I am grateful for each and everyone. Additionally, the DAR enriches the lives of our students and builds patriotism beyond comparison. I could not be prouder of our students, staff and schools at DAR.

“I want everyone to know that nothing is more important than the safety of our students. Safety remains our number one priority in everything we do. If you have concerns of any kind, make a personal appointment to meet with your local school administrator. Besides, my door is always open. School administrators and I will communicate as much as possible and as permitted by law. I will not discuss academic matters of such importance on social media, messaging or email; rather, I will be happy to meet with you individually, at your convenience.

“In closing, I want to thank Sheriff Phil Sims and the Marshall County Sheriff’s Department. Sheriff Sims and his team of school resource officers are the best in the business. We are lucky to have them and couldn’t be happier with the safety, support and professionalism they showed in this and many other situations.

Martha K. Merrill