School officials took swift action to deal with student who made threats
With the recent school shooting in Parkland, Fla. the anxiety of parents across the nation remains high and that was evidenced here last week following an incident at Cairo High School.
According to school officials, last Tuesday afternoon a CHS student made a “verbal threatening statement” to some classmates and the news of the incident spread, particularly via social media, and became exaggerated and inaccurate.
As parents’ concern grew, fueled by false information shared by others, CHS Principal Chris Lokey issued a statement Thursday to parents, transmitted by telephone and electronically, to calm fears, clarify just what had happened earlier in the week and how the incident was handled by school personnel.
Lokey said that school personnel were alerted to the incident, which occurred during an after-school activity, at approximately 4:14 p.m. last Tuesday, Feb. 20.
The high school principal’s statement noted, “At Cairo High School we take all threats seriously and followed up with an investigation. As a result of the investigation the administration determined that the student did make a verbal threatening statement towards other students. The student that said the statement was referred to a Disciplinary Tribunal Hearing per the Grady County School System’s Student Code of Conduct and local law enforcement (School Resource Officer Duke Donaldson) was made aware of the situation. This was a situation that happened earlier in the week (Tuesday afternoon) and was handled immediately. The Cairo Police Department was involved concerning this incident and took the appropriate actions to ensure the safety of our students.”
Prior to Lokey issuing his statement on Thursday, rumors incorrectly indicated that a direct threat to the school had been made prompting some parents to check-out their children from school early.
“Law enforcement could not substantiate any of these rumors nor could we,” Lokey said.
In his statement, Lokey went on to state, “Parents, I understand your concern and please feel confident that if any threat has been made to our campus or our students that it will be dealt with by notifying local law enforcement and by following school protocol and procedures outlined in our school safety plan.”
School system officials note that student disciplinary actions are confidential, but they insist the student involved in this case was removed from the school and dealt with in accordance to school system policies.
“School safety is of the utmost concern here at Cairo High School and all threats toward the school, school personnel, or our students are taken very seriously and handled immediately. We want all of our students to feel safe and enjoy the many opportunities Cairo High School has to offer,” Lokey said.
“Our school administrators deal with a range of discipline issues each day. They have to investigate and respond based on their findings following the Code of Conduct and Grady County School System Policies. We have to protect the rights of all students, including the student that has misbehaved. I want to assure all parents that we will notify them when we know that their child is in danger. Many of our administrators, including me, have children who are students in our schools. We will never place our students, faculty or staff in a situation that we know is harmful. Our administrators are not going to knowingly place students or themselves in a situation that will cause harm,” said Grady County School Superintendent Dr. Kermit Gilliard.
The superintendent added, “I encourage all students and parents to report threats or concerns to an administrator. I have seen over the past week the misuse of social media. Speculation and misinformation posted on social media harms everyone.”
Principal Lokey encourages any parent or guardian who has questions or concerns about school safety to contact him at 229-377-2222.