Perryville high, middle school students, staff return to class after threat prompts evacuation
PERRYVILLE, Mo. (KBSI) – Students and staff at Perryville High School and Perry County Middle School are back in school after they were evacuated Wednesday morning for a police search after police received a threat to the school.
The Perryville Police Department received a phone call from a male subject claiming to be a student at Perryville High School on Wednesday, Jan. 22 about 6:15 a.m. He advised of a student threatening to place an incendiary device in the school that day, according to the police department.
That prompted a police search of the school facilities.
School officials were immediately notified.
Students were moved safely to rally point and a reunification site, according to the Perry County School District 32.
Other buildings on campus were placed on a precautionary lockout.
Officers were dispatched to the school to conduct a search of the buildings. After searching the buildings, no weapons or incendiary devices were located.
Police completed the search without incident around 9:15 a.m.
During the investigation, it was discovered that the caller used a voice over internet service to change his number. In addition, names that were given of both the caller and suspect, were not students at Perryville High School, according to the police department.
“We take the safety of our students seriously and will respond to all threats against them and our schools,” said Perryville Police Chief Direk Hunt. “If the suspect is identified, we will work with the Prosecuting Attorney to pursue charges for making a Terroristic Threat and any other applicable charges.”
“We always encourage citizens to ‘Say something if they see something’. However, the opposite side of the coin is those individuals that try and incite fear among the community by calling in a false report. These cases need to be pursued to the fullest extent of the law,” said Chief Hunt.
The police department is working with school district to identify a suspect.
“Our students are safe, and are being moved back to classrooms to continue the instructional day,” according to a news release from the school.
District 32 Superintendent Andrew Comstock thanked local law enforcement for their swift response.
“We are providing every support that our police need to identify any person who makes any threat against our schools, students or staff,” said Comstock.
Perry County Sheriff Jason Klaus says his department sent deputies to assist the Perryville Police Department. Deputies responded to the reunification site where students and staff were evacuated to.
Sheriff Klaus says any students who were not picked up by parents/guardians at the reunification site were returned to school once the all clear was given.
He thanked parents, staff and students for their patience as many departments worked together.
Perryville Police Department, Information Officer Jeri Cain says, “We need people to stop and think about what they’re doing anytime we get these types of threats, it doesn’t only endanger the lives of our officers who are responding to the calls, but it also has an emotional and mental effect on students, staff and parents as well.”