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High school shooting threats deemed false alarms

SOUTH CHARLESTON/HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) – Calls made within minutes of each other regarding shootings at two local high schools have been deemed false alarms by law enforcement.

The threats were made Wednesday morning, both before 8:30 a.m.

Law enforcement from several different agencies responded to South Charleston High School and Huntington High School.

After securing the scene and checking the high schools room by room, law enforcement and school officials deemed both threats to be a hoax.

“It was found to be a complete hoax. The call was a hoax. This has happened at several schools across the state this morning.”

According to the Director of Communication for Cabell County Schools, Jedd Flowers, similar hoax calls were received at education institutions across the country Monday.

“We received a hoax call regarding a shooting at the school (Huntington High School). Of course, our first responders immediately responded and checked out the situation and cleared the school,” said Flowers. “This hoax call actually went out to education institutions across the country today,” Flowers said. “And so, of course, it is under investigation. However, we take every threat very seriously and our emergency responders do as well. They are monitoring the situation at all of our schools today. We do not believe there is any validity to this hoax call at all but they are monitoring the situation at all our schools, being extra vigilant today while this investigation is underway.”

“We have been given the all clear and the school day will continue on a regular schedule,” said Flowers. “Thank you to all our emergency responders for quickly responding to the situation and checking it out. We, of course, always want to put our safety first.”

Parents waiting in the parking lot below Huntington High, waiting tensely before finding out the calls were fake.

“I’ve got three up there, but I thought about all the kids,” said parent Matthew Christus. “They shouldn’t have to deal with this kind of stuff.”

Cars filed in and out of the school’s parking lot all morning as some parents took their kids home for the day. Administrators talking to parents to clarify what happened, after many are feeling shaken and scared.

“I’m sure they are, I know we are, and I know parents have to be feeling that way,” Flowers said.

“I’m sure they’re scared. My kids are texting me, they’re nervous even though it’s a hoax,” Christus said. “They say they’re moving shelves in front of the door and everything else, that’s not normal.”

In situations like this, preparedness is crucial. Huntington High works with a Homeland Security committee to stay current on safety drills.

“This was a great example of how our first responder community comes together with the school community to make sure the school remains safe,” Flowers said.

It was supposed to be a happy day of celebration, with an assembly planned for the Highlander football team.

“I’m wearing my Highlander green, I was on my way here to celebrate the state championship team,” Flowers said.

Huntington High is working on potentially rescheduling the assembly.

“I think every threat takes a little bit of childhood away,” said Flowers. “It’s so important people consider that, and treat our kids with concern and care, and not do these sort of things.”

“This is the stuff you see on the news, that happens other places,” said Christus. “Even though it’s a hoax, it still hits home. It’s hard.”

Threats regarding active shootings were received at schools in 12 West Virginia counties Wednesday.

Calls about active shooters came simultaneously around 9 a.m. at several schools in Marion County, including RCB High School in Clarksburg and Morgantown High School.

The Morgantown Police Department said a man called 911 saying he was a teacher at Morgantown High and that seven students had been shot in his classroom. MPD said the call was a hoax, and no threat was present at the school.

As of 11 a.m., the following counties in West Virginia reported false threats of an active shooter:

  • Barbour
  • Cabell
  • Harrison
  • Ohio
  • Kanawha
  • Marion
  • Mercer
  • Monongalia
  • Raleigh
  • Taylor
  • Wirt
  • Wood

“Each threat is taken seriously and thoroughly investigated,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Jeff Sandy. “We are one hundred percent committed to continuing to ensure the health, safety and well-being of students and communities. We diligently work across departments and agencies to respond, monitor, and investigate these alleged threats.”

The West Virginia Fusion Center, under the West Virginia Department of Homeland Security, is coordinating response efforts at the state level.

The West Virginia Department of Homeland Security reminds all West Virginians to immediately call 911 if there is an immediate danger or law enforcement intervention is necessary.

First responders respond to Highlander Way after a shooting threat Monday morning.
First responders respond to Highlander Way after a shooting threat Monday morning.(WSAZ)
First responders respond to South Charleston High School Monday morning after a shooting threat.
First responders respond to South Charleston High School Monday morning after a shooting threat.(WSAZ)

Additionally, West Virginia has partnered with My Mobile Witness to implement a “see something, send something” reporting system that can be completed on a smartphone or other mobile device. All West Virginians are encouraged to participate in this initiative by downloading the free See, Send application from the App Store or Google Play. My Mobile Witness is also compatible with web-based reporting and is not strictly for cell phone use.

Keep checking the WSAZ app for the latest information.