LPD has looked into rumors at LaGrange High and found no credible threats

Published 4:37 pm Wednesday, February 21, 2018

The LaGrange Police Department investigated a rumor related to student safety at LaGrange High School this week, but officers have found no substantiated threats.

The school system has utilized its One Call Now System to send alerts out to parents of students at LaGrange, Troup and Callaway High over the last week. LaGrange and Troup fall under the LPD coverage area.

“There has at this point been no substantiated threats,” said Sgt. William Nelson with the LPD. “We have investigated a lot of different things, but there has been nothing substantiated other than people just talking in general.”

The LPD has promised an increased presence at the schools in the coming days. Student resource officers have been talking to students and investigating any rumors circulating.

“We have also been to the home of every one of these students that these rumors or allegations have surfaced with and found nothing at their homes that indicated anything further than just kids talking,” Nelson said.

Nelson said at LaGrange High School a rumor circulated about a student no longer enrolled at the school system. The LPD has talked to that student, as well as his parents. No arrests were made.

“There was a student who the rumors were related to who had previously been removed from school that had not made a direct threat but had made some comments that were off-putting,” Nelson said. “He has been spoken with, and we made contact with him and his family.”

Nelson said no investigation has taken place at Troup High recently. Four students were investigated in December, and two of them are no longer part of the school system, Nelson said.  He said nobody was arrested in that case and no criminal charges were filed.

“There was no credible basis for the threat other than them just talking and there have been no arrests made in that case,” Nelson said. “There were no criminal charges filed and no criminal violation of law.”

Stewart Smith with the Troup County Sheriff’s Office said he’s unaware of any major issues at schools investigated by the TCSO in the last few days. Sheriff James Woodruff said in a Facebook post Tuesday that extra deputies will cycle through the schools in the days ahead.

“To help ease some of those fears you may see an increased presence of our uniformed deputies at our local schools, and we continue to be in constant contact with the school system to help ensure the safety of our students and to investigate specific threats made to any school campus,” Woodruff said.

After last week’s shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, where a former student killed 17 people, threatening rumors have popped up around the country.

Nelson said students should know that making any kind of threat is a very serious matter. Any student who makes a threat could, in the very least, be charged with making terroristic threats.

“All you have to do is look around the country right now and look at how serious it’s being taken by lawmakers, from the White House all the way to local municipalities,” he said. “This is something that even the mere mention of it is going to get the attention of local authorities. Kids need to be careful spreading things that they have no knowledge of first and foremost, but also if they have any inclination that they are having these types of thoughts, they need to seek assistance, seek help, but most importantly understand that they are going to get all of our resources to anything that is even looking that direction.”

The school system said it is being proactive in investigating any safety related reports.

“We take the safety of our students and staff seriously. In the aftermath of last week’s events in Florida, we are being proactive about any safety-related reports,” said Yolanda Stephen, director of public relations for the Troup County School System, in an email. “The One Call Now’s are a way we keep parents informed of our efforts. In the following days there will be an increased law enforcement presence on our campus’ as a safety precaution. We thank students and parents for making us aware of anything that impedes the safety of our learning environments.”