September 18, 2019 10:51:11 AM
A 15-year-old student at Caledonia High School was arrested Monday after he allegedly told other students he had made a list of people he planned to shoot at school.
School administrators notified Lowndes County Sheriff's Office of the threats at 11:21 a.m. Monday, according to an LCSO press release. The student has been charged with making terrorist threats under Mississippi Senate Bill 2141, also known as the "Mississippi Terroristic Threats Law," which just passed in the last legislative session. He allegedly told students he "had a list of people he hated" and "was going to shoot them at school," the press release said.
Neither the press release nor school administrators named the student, who is in custody at Lowndes County Juvenile Detention Center. Authorities have said the student is being charged as a juvenile at this time.
The terroristic threats law makes it a felony to threaten to harm another person if the suspect making the threat intends to "intimidate or coerce a civilian population or segment of a civilian population to cede to the person's demands" or "influence and affect, by intimidation or coercion, the policy or conduct of a unit of government, educational institution, business or segment of the civilian population to cede to the person's demands."
The law adds a person can still be charged for making threats if he or she did not have the means or intention of carrying out the threat. A defendant convicted as an adult of making the threats could face 10 years in prison.
Both Lowndes County School District Superintendent Lynn Wright and CHS Principal Andy Stevens said administrators never found the alleged list.
"There was no list," Stevens said. "That's been fabricated."
He added the school did not go on lockdown and that the student's arrest didn't affect dismissal or other procedures.
"It was not to that extent," he said.
Wright said administrators "immediately" notified law enforcement upon learning of the threat.
"It couldn't have been dealt with much sooner or probably handled any better," he said. "Because one of the things we have to be very careful about is not to create mass hysteria.
"In this day and age, everybody is very apprehensive any time they hear of a threat," he later added.
Wright said a safe environment free of threats and disruption is the best way for students to learn.
"I think the students are reassured and ... probably are happy that we have the quality security that we have," he said. "It helps them feel safe and secure. ... We want them to be in an environment that they feel is safe and secure and conducive to learning."
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