Capt. Anthony Meredith, with the Pulaski Police Department said the incident started with a conversation between two workers, one with limited English language skills. The worker expressed her fears for the safety of her child because of the Newtown, Conn. shootings.
Another employee apparently overheard parts of the conversation, and repeated her version of it to someone else. As in the parlor game, "gossip," things got out of hand by the time the student heard the story and brought it to school. Luckily, he was concerned enough to tell members of the teaching staff.
The end result of the initial conversation, which took place on Jan. 5, was to show how well law enforcement, the Pulaski County Sheriffs Department and the school district reacted to a threat, real or imagined.
Students behaved admirably well, and instruction was not interrupted. Some parents in the community were concerned the school system didn’t immediately notify them of the lockdown through the school's notification system. Many heard about the incident on the news channels. Superintendent of schools, Dr. Thomas Brewster stated,
“Our first priority was to ensure the safety of our faculty, staff and students. Once we were able to provide accurate and helpful information, we released a statement on our website and Facebook page. It has been a standard practice to use the parent notification system when parent action is necessary.”
The importance of confirming unsubstantiated rumors before passing them along cannot be emphasized enough, especially when it involves threats of any kind. While it was sad that a simple conversation got blown out of proportion, we commend the school system and law enforcement for a job well done.