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Two Mountain Home Public School students are in hot water with the Mountain Home Police Department after making alleged threats against fellow students over the holiday weekend.
The first incident involved another middle schooler who was taken into custody after creating a hit list and posting it on social media with a picture of a rifle on Thanksgiving Day. The second incident involved a Mountain Home High School student who posted a picture on social media of himself holding two guns with a caption that read “School ready.”
While both students are being dealt with by law enforcement, this now marks the third time in a month that Mountain Home Public Schools has had to address student-made threats of violence against others.
“Parents, I would encourage you to have conversations about the seriousness of these types of actions,” said Mountain Home Superintendent Dr. Jake Long in a message to parents Saturday evening.
Mountain Home’s first incident was revealed on Nov. 3 after another student was found to have made a “hit list” targeting other students. The “hit list” was discovered by a student who quickly notified school officials.
The student who made the list was quickly removed from campus and turned to the police for further investigation. In his statement following the event, Long stated that the student would be disciplined according to district policy, which states that no one involved in a potentially dangerous situation will be allowed to return to campus until the safety of everyone is insured.
That first incident is now followed by a similar incident that occurred on Thanksgiving Day. That incident also involved the discovery of a student-made “hit list” posted on social media alongside a picture of a gun. Mountain Home PD was quickly notified of the threat and took the student into custody.
Because the Thanksgiving event took place off campus, Long stated in his Saturday evening message that the district does not know the details of the hit list and who may or may not be on it.
“The district is unaware of any names on this list or any specifics related to this situation, however, we have been notified that the student is in law enforcement custody,” Long said.
The latest incident occurred on Friday and was dealt with after school officials were made aware of the threatening social media post by the student at Mountain Home High School.
“The second incident occurred on Friday, Nov. 25, when an MHHS student posted a picture on social media of himself holding two guns with a caption that read ‘School ready.’ School personnel were made aware of this post and immediately reported it to law enforcement. This student is also in law enforcement custody,” said Long.
During the district’s last school board meeting, it was revealed that Long and the district were looking at increasing security on campus through their School Safety Action Plan.
That plan included exploring a Commissioned School Safety Officer who would provide further security on campus. The district also proposed to establish a District Safety Coordinator who would oversee newly created safety and security teams and oversee the planning and organizing of the district’s safety assessments.
During the meeting, the district also discussed door lock upgrades to its facilities and the installation of advanced security technology through a company called Entry Shield.
Entry Shield is a security company in Flippin, Arkansas, that uses “Screen and Flow” technology to help monitor what types of items are being brought inside a school throughout the day. The system sends an alert through the company’s app if a weapon is detected, notifying officials of potential danger.
The Entry Shield System would also install silent alarms and cameras on doors throughout each campus building.
Entry Shield states that its system can discover weapons through “thousands of algorithms” identifying weapon shapes. The district is only currently exploring these options at this time.
In his final message on Saturday, Long asked parents to have serious conversations with their children about making threats against others.
“Parents, I would encourage you to have conversations about the seriousness of these types of actions,” Long said. “As a school system, we will continue to take any of this type of information, investigate it, and get to the bottom of it. Even though neither of these incidents happened in school, they will both result in serious consequences within our school system and, of course, within the legal system as well.”