West Brook High School had additional security Thursday after a student made threatening comments the past couple of days.
Beaumont Independent School District Police Chief Clydell Duncan told 12 News his department has additional officers on campus as well as canine units in the halls.
Administrators call the actions a precaution and tell us they have spoken to the student and his parents and believe there is no threat.
The school is not on lockdown. Officials say students and teachers are being encouraged to stay in the classrooms to avoid confronting the dogs.
A spokesperson for BISD issued the following news release Thursday afternoon:
West Brook and schools across BISD are safe
In the aftermath of the killing of 28 people, including 20 students, in Newtown, CT, and the Mayan calendar rumors suggesting the world will end on tomorrow, Dec. 21. West Brook Principal Randall Maxwell spoke with parents today to assure them that students are safe at the largest school in Southeast Texas. "There were rumors flying around about a student threatening the safety of others here. There are rumors saying the world will end tomorrow. While I don't believe the world will end tomorrow, we do take seriously any threat—jokes or otherwise—to the well-being of students and employees. We are like the airlines; threatening safety of others is not taken lightly and any such comments will bring about a thorough investigation," Maxwell explained.
According to Maxwell, in classroom discussions about student safety that came about following the tragedy in Newtown, students were asked to be sure to inform an adult if they ever hear of such threats. Apparently, two weeks ago, one student heard another student make a comment comparing the Columbine tragedy with suggestions about the Mayan calendar's meaning the world will end on tomorrow. The heard comment was passed on by a few other students to a few more students and consequently, school officials brought the students in for questioning. "We interviewed and questioned the student who reportedly made the comment and about 10 more students who had heard about the comment. In the end, we ascertained that there was no validity to the rumor of our employees and students being at risk," the principal added.
Beaumont ISD Chief of Police Clydell Duncan said the school district's police department has been on higher alert since the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy. Not only are we much more visible in the schools, but we are checking and rechecking school entry points and putting extra eyes on surveillance video located throughout the district. Also, we are continuing all the safety measures that have been a part of our operation for several years.
Duncan said that a recent Texas Attorney General Office's report indicated in its overview that BISD had not submitted its annual school safety plan, yet the report clearly lists in its attachments that BISD is one of the district safety plans it had received. "Safety is a top priority here in BISD. We submitted the plan 14 months ago. In follow up calls to the OAG, we are hoping to clear up any miscommunications," Duncan added.