14-year-old arrested for school shooting threat at LaGrange High School

Published 2:30 pm Friday, September 17, 2021

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A 14-year-old student has been arrested for making a shooting threat at LaGrange High School on Thursday, according to Lt. Mark Cavender with the LaGrange Police Department.

The juvenile has been charged with making terroristic threats and disrupting a public school.

Cavender said these threats are very serious and the LPD always will handle them that way.

“It’s not a game, it’s not something we take lightly anytime you start talking about causing harm to students at a school, especially in a mass setting,” Cavender said. ” When you’re a parent, as I am, you think when your kids go to school that your kids are going to be safe and you expect your kids to be safe.”

The threat was posted on Snapchat on Wednesday night, according to school officials. The LaGrange Police Department increased its presence at the school both Thursday and Friday.

Chip Medders, assistant superintendent, said the school system acted through its safety team and safety plan, which is prepared for these types of situations.

“We have a threat assessment team with Steve Heaten, our safety coordinator, working with our principals, and our local law enforcement,” Medders said. “So all we really did is put a plan that we already had prepared into action. And ultimately, we got to this point we are today.”

The threat at LHS was one of three made yesterday. A 12-year-old Gardner Newman student was also arrested on Thursday in response to threats at that school. As of Friday, no arrest has been made in a threat made at Callaway High School.

A bomb threat was also made at LHS on Sept. 7. Cavender said it’s unclear if the same juvenile was involved in that case as well.

“We’re still investigating whether they will be tied to the bomb threat that was made last week, but at this time we definitely know that this person was involved in making the Snapchat threat yesterday that led to all the extra police presence and 754 kids being absent from school yesterday,” Cavender said.

Cavender said since the suspects are juveniles they will be processed through LPD, then the LPD contacts the juvenile court system, which determines next steps.

“We appreciate the partnership of our local law enforcement agencies, the LaGrange Police Department and the Troup County Sheriff’s Office,” said Superintendent Brian Shumate. “They did a great job in helping and investigating these situations that are very unfortunate. We appreciate our parents, patience and support with us as we try to continue with normal school operations while considering all safety factors related to students and student well-being, as well as our staff. These things, unfortunately, happen in this world that we live in, and we’re sensitive to them and take them very seriously. We’re very happy with this resolution at this point. Obviously, we want to discourage kids from doing anything to disrupt the school environment or any normal functioning of our daily lives. It’s very disruptive as we know, and unfortunate. We will press these cases to the fullest extent of the law, and school board policy in relation to disciplinary action.”