Schools, law enforcement keep an eye out for threats
PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - Police step up their patrols, and some parents keep their children out of school, in response to a nationwide social media threat revealed Thursday.
But for the most part, it was just another day for schools in the area.
Police stepped up their presence at several area schools Friday, but aside from a brief lockdown at one of them, the school day in Wood County went on normally.
Blennerhassett Middle School was briefly locked down Friday morning after a social media post referred to a threat involving a school identified as “BMS”. But the lockdown was lifted after it was determined the school mentioned was outside the local area. Parkersburg High School was also on a lockdown for a while Friday, but police tell us that was due to officers serving an unrelated warrant.
Police patrols were mostly limited to school arrival times, although police resource officers regularly assigned to certain schools stepped up their presence.
“Our resource officer at Jackson Middle School was there early,” says Vienna Police Chief Mike Pifer. “We’re very visible at Neale School every day. Other officers were at grade schools as well, in that area.”
“We work really good with the school systems, and the resource officers are very good at their jobs.” adds Wood County Sheriff Rick Woodyard. “I think we have a very good relationship that would allow us to respond quickly to any situation that would arise at one of our schools.”
In spite of that security presence, some parents decided it was best to let their kids stay home Friday.
One parent we spoke to-who asked not to be identified-said he and some of his neighbors made that decision, after news broke Thursday of the nationwide threat.
He told us his kids, as well as students across the country, were aware of the uncertainty of the situation.
”All it takes is one mentally unstable to kid to make a tragic situation,” the parent said, “and we just didn’t want to have regrets, and think we should have kept him home that day, if something did happen.”
Schools locally stayed open, but some schools in other parts of the country decided to cancel classes after word of the threat emerged.
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