2/1/2018 1:09:00 PM Restroom threat leads to lockdown
By BILL RICHARDSON Daily News
An area high school was placed on lockdown by administrators Tuesday, after a threatening message carved into a restroom wall gave cause for concern.
According to Unit 20 Schools superintendent Doug Daugherty, Lawrenceville High School was placed on lockdown shortly after noon. The lockdown was lifted about 1:20 p.m., according to Daugherty, when school officials were assured that there was no threat to anyone's safety.
"We have a lockdown whenever there is a potential threat," Daugherty said. "We do whatever we can to protect the kids. That's our Number One priority."
According to Lawrenceville Police Chief James White, the message threatened that the school would be "blown up."
Daugherty said a young man who used the restroom discovered the message, which had apparently been carved with a pocket knife.
Daugherty said that a handful of students were interviewed. Some of the students, he said, claimed that the message had been written in the restroom as long ago as the 2016-17 school year, but had yet to be reported.
"We don't know if it was written two days ago, six months ago or a year ago," Daugherty said.
White is of the opinion that the carving was actually quite old. White and officer Annette Akers were at the school on business just prior to the reported incident and immediately returned to the school to investigate.
White said that once everyone was assured that there was no danger, the go-ahead was given for things to return to normal.
"At that point we didn't feel like there was anything to be concerned about," White said.
For the time being, Daugherty said, the restroom in question had been closed off. It will be re-opened after a custodian has cleaned the area with the message.
"We're thankful for the kid who reported it. He did the right thing," Daugherty said. "Our office staff and everyone else involved did the right thing, too. The were looking out for the safety of everyone and that's the most important thing."
Parents were never notified that the school had been placed on lockdown. However, text messages were sent out to parents at 1:24 p.m. that the lockdown had been lifted.
Daugherty said Facebook and other forms of social media "did not help the situation."
"Things like that only make the parents more nervous," he said. "The No. 1 priority is to keep the kids safe. We'll let the parents know on an as-needed basis. In this case, Facebook didn't help."
School dismissed at the usual time of 3:15 p.m. Tuesday and classes were scheduled to began at 8:05 a.m. today as usual.