Facebook post prompts lockdown

Published 12:27 am Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Opp Superintendent: No students were harmed at OHS

An alarming Facebook post prompted Opp City Schools’ officials to place Opp High School on lockdown status.

Opp City Schools Superintendent Michael Smithart said that the lockdown was a precautionary measure.

“In accordance with our safety plan, school administrators immediately placed the school on lockdown and contacted law enforcement,” he said. “A student was removed from campus and a thorough search was conducted with the cooperation of local law enforcement officials, school officials and trained K9 units.”

Smithart said all students were safe.

Rumors swirled on Facebook that there was a gun on campus and that there was an apparent drug bust.

Smithart would not elaborate on the Facebook post that caused concern, but said that school officials were still investigating the incident and that the student could face consequences in accordance with the school system’s code of conduct, which could be as harsh as expulsion.

After the search of the school, students returned to a regular school day, he said.

“Thank you for your understanding, and we thank all of the agencies, which dispatched units for their assistance,” he said.

The local community expressed their concern on the school system’s Facebook page for what they described as lack of information provided after the incident.

“Four hours to let parents and guardians half-way sugar coat what happened for a public statement,” said Robin Gomillion. “Not very transparent considering these are people’s children you have at your facility. No school wants bad publicity, but no parent wants to not be told the entire story either. Sad when a school’s reputation has precedent over honesty to those that entrust you with living beings.”

Brandee Nelson said, “For the kids to be on lockdown for over three hours means something big was going on as we as parents have the right to know what’s going on at the school they attend. It should not be waiting on the kids to come home to tell it. They need to release more info to us.”

Tina Anderson said, “Being a parent, I can understand the parents’ concerns but at the same time, I can understand why the parents were not informed at the time it was going on. They didn’t need the school grounds being clogged up with parents piling in to get their kids, but the parents should have been notified as soon as it was cleared up and that the parents could go in to check on their kids.”

Sonya Deakins said, “We’d like to know what caused this lockdown. A concerning Facebook post by a student only raises more questions. Mr. Smithart, I hope you will explain.”