North Greene officials react to alleged text threats

By Gary Scott on January 25, 2016 at 12:59pm

A Greene County school district superintendent says an incident last week was a partial factor in the school board discussing safety protocol.

According to a press release from White Hall Police Chief Luke Coultas, officers were called to North Greene High School last Wednesday afternoon after school personnel were alerted that a 16-year-old male student allegedly sent threatening text messages to another student.

The texts reportedly included pictures of the 16-year-old holding a handgun and “were threatening in nature to the school.” The teen was apparently not present at the time of the messages.

Officers located an air-powered BB gun matching the description of the gun in the text messages, according to Coultas, along with various drug paraphernalia items. The juvenile was reportedly taken into custody and released to parents later that evening.

North Greene Superintendent Lawrence Coultas says school board members discussed the matter during a meeting that night.

“We looked into it and investigated it. We wanted to be sure there wasn’t something we felt was an imminent threat, you can never be too careful. We went ahead and went through some procedures to decide whether or not we felt this was something that needed to be [a] notification to parents and so forth. We felt that was not necessary,” says Coultas.

“Again, you can’t be too careful, but we just felt like there wasn’t really an imminent threat, that we had to do anything special.”

Coultas adds the school board decided to “tighten down” on controlled access to school buildings. He says there were some activities conducted last Thursday.

“We did some things to try to make people aware that we still have to make sure that we don’t expose our students to any problems, and that we’re prepared if there is a problem. Basically we just asked the teachers to be aware of what was going on; interior doors, we usually asked to be locked. We do have access control to the outside of the building, we’ve always had that, we made sure that was in place correctly,” Coultas explains.

Reporter: “So, there was no active soft or hard lockdown of any kind on Thursday?”

Coultas: “No, not really. It was a reminder that we can’t be too careful.”

He adds the school has surveillance systems in place.

The White Hall Police Department press release indicates last Wednesday’s incident is still under investigation and has been sent to the Greene County State’s Attorney for review.