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School system outlines safety procedures

February 3, 2014

BY MARY GARRISON
editor@dailytimesleader.com

Two West Point High School students caught with "deadly weapons" on school property are awaiting a hearing in youth court to determine their fate. The hearing date is expected to be set Monday.
The students, both juveniles whose names have not been released, will go before the court concerning an incident which placed WPHS on lockdown at about 10:30 a.m. Thursday. According to Clay County Sheriff Eddie Scott, students approached a Clay County Sheriff's Department school safety officer and reported that a fellow student had allegedly brought a firearm onto school property. Scott said the officer "immediately approached the student" and discovered an unloaded firearm. Further investigation revealed a second student allegedly in possession of a knife.
"According to some of the school officials there's been some trouble brewing amongst the students — different groups — for a couple of weeks," Scott said in a previous interview. "The school and safety officer have done a good job of keeping a lid on things, but it moves to a whole new level when they bring weapons to school."
It's something West Point School District Superintendent Burnell McDonald said the district is prepared to handle safely, however.
"Basically what we do is a lockdown — which they did … we shut the school off, where nobody comes in and nobody leaves, the teachers lock their doors and we don't do class change — and then we start investigating the tips we received, and we immediately call law enforcement. … Until we feel that everything is safe, we remain in lockdown mode. Some people may say we overdo it, but you can never overdo it when it comes to the safety of our students, faculty and staff."
McDonald said lockdown is an infrequent occurrence — maybe three times a year — and isn't always the result of an imminent threat.

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